A look at the international race to create human eggs and sperm in the lab : Short Wave In which we meet the pioneers of one of the most exciting — and controversial — fields of biomedical research: in vitro gametogenesis, or IVG. The goal of IVG is to make unlimited supplies of what Hayashi calls "artificial" eggs and sperm from any cell in the human body. That could let anyone — older, infertile, single, gay, trans — have their own genetically related babies. As such, the field opens up a slew of ethical concerns.

But that isn't stopping researchers from pressing forward.

So, this episode NPR science correspondent Rob Stein gives us a glimpse into the global race to create the first artificial human embryos to see how the competition is unfolding.

Want to hear more cutting-edge technology? Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

A look at the international race to create human eggs and sperm in the lab

A look at the international race to create human eggs and sperm in the lab

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One of the scientists shows the petri dishes in which they grow cells at the department of Genome Biology, Graduate School of Medicine. Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, August 7th, 2003. Kosuke Okahara for NPR hide caption

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Kosuke Okahara for NPR

One of the scientists shows the petri dishes in which they grow cells at the department of Genome Biology, Graduate School of Medicine. Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, August 7th, 2003.

Kosuke Okahara for NPR

In which we meet the pioneers of one of the most exciting — and controversial — fields of biomedical research: in vitro gametogenesis, or IVG.

The goal of IVG is to make unlimited supplies of what Hayashi calls "artificial" eggs and sperm from any cell in the human body. That could let anyone — older, infertile, single, gay, trans — have their own genetically related babies. As such, the field opens up a slew of ethical concerns.

But that isn't stopping researchers from pressing forward.

So, this episode NPR science correspondent Rob Stein gives us a glimpse into the global race to create the first artificial human embryos to see how the competition is unfolding.

Want to hear more cutting-edge technology? Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Listen to Short Wave on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

This episode was produced by Berly McCoy. It was edited by Rebecca Ramirez and Scott Hensley. Maggie Luthar was the audio engineer.