“…sex and reproduction would be separated. You would have sex without reproduction and then technology was reproduction without sex. This would be done in the laboratory,” was the next subject in Dr Day’s presentation to the group.
Dr Dunegan could not remember the details of this part of Dr Day’s presentation, stating that he could not distinguish what Day said at the time and what he had subsequently learned.
The first successful scientific experiment in fertility was conducted in 1884 by Philadelphia physician William Pancoast. Pancoast treated a couple’s infertility by injecting sperm from a medical student into the woman while she was anesthetised, and she gave birth to a boy nine months later. This was the first recorded incident of artificial insemination, although it didn’t appear in a medical journal, the Medical World Journal, until 1909.
Several other experiments took place in the early 1900s with limited success.
In 1944, a lab technician, Miriam Menkin, became the first person to fertilize a human egg outside of the human body.
After working on external fertilisation of eggs for six years, her first success came in February 1944. She went on to repeat this success three times between February and April 1944.
Although Menkin has been successful in fertilising eggs outside of the body, her experimentation never reached the stage of implanting them back into the donor.
The world’s first test-tube baby was Louise Brown who was born in 1978.
Through the research of Professor Sir Robert Edwards with his colleague Patrick Steptoe, IVF treatment became available to millions worldwide, and has (to date) resulted in over five million babies being born.
In 2013, the first true test-tube baby became a real possibility when scientists at Oregon Health and Science University extracted stem cells from human embryos created in a laboratory.
Although human embryos had been created before, they had not had healthy stem cells extracted from them. With the healthy stem cells being created scientists have taken a significant step to creating cloned humans.
The developments caused concern among campaign groups who questioned the need for the research when simpler ways of creating stem cells for biological research already existed.
The team at Oregon Health and Science University were also criticised by other scientists in the field for publishing the controversial research data claiming that the team were irresponsible, and others claiming there should be an international ban on human cloning.