A team of scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom has created the world’s first synthetic human embryo-like structures using stem cells, marking a huge milestone in the field of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and human reproduction. This significant advancement removes the necessity for eggs or sperm for the production of human embryos.
These embryos resemble natural embryos in the early phases of human development, according to a study by The Guardian. They do not have a beating heart or the beginnings of a brain, but they do have cells that will give birth to the placenta, yolk sac, and embryo. These models could help scientists in understanding the consequences of genetic diseases and the biological reasons of repeated miscarriages.
However, the study has significant legal and ethical consequences because the use of synthetic embryos for medical treatment is not permitted in the UK or most other nations. It is now prohibited to implant them into a patient’s womb, and it is unknown if these structures have the capacity to grow beyond the initial stages of development. Scientists are currently permitted to develop embryos in the lab for 14 days.