Henry T. Greely is the director of Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, as well as its Program in Neuroscience and Society. Clearly, the guy knows a thing or two about technology and the role it plays in people’s lives — and he’s now predicting that technological advances will one day make sex for reproduction a thing of the past.
“My strongest prediction is in the future people will still have sex – but not as often for the purpose of making babies,” Greely, who published a book titled “The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction,” told the BBC. “In 20 to 40 years, most people all over the world with good health coverage will choose to conceive in a lab.”
In the four decades since the birth of the first “test tube baby,” more than 8 million people have been born via in vitro fertilization.
Today, parents producing some of those children are choosing to have their fertilized embryos undergo preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) prior to transfer into a uterus. This involves doctors removing cells from the embryos to see if a child would inherit any problematic genes from the parents.
PGD gives parents the option of using only problem-free embryos for IVF, and according to Greely, once it’s more affordable and available, many parents will choose PGD over reproducing the old fashioned way.
“Like most things, there will be a fair amount of visceral negative reaction initially,” he told the BBC, before adding that public acceptance will come once parents realize that PGD children aren’t born with “two heads and a tail.”
READ MORE: Are we set for a new sexual revolution? [BBC]
More on the future of sex: Sex Researchers: For Many, Virtual Lovers Will Replace Humans