Atlas Baby Big Bang

  Jean François Bouvet vigilantly foresaw the future development of assisted reproduction in the book “Tupu Babies”.
  At 23:47 on July 25, 1978, the history of human birth ushered in a new era. The first test-tube baby was born, his name was Louis Brown. Since then, the birth of babies no longer depends solely on natural reproduction. Whether in the past or in the future, human beings are constantly reproducing offspring. Decades later, will we be able to select the sperm and eggs that meet our expectations on the website like online shopping, and then entrust the fertilized eggs to the right fertile person?

“Humanity has opened the door to high-tech assisted reproduction.” Jean-François Bouvet said.

  Jean-François Bouvet, the author of “Atlas Babies” and a teacher of natural sciences, believes that such a deal is not yet possible, but it may only be a matter of time. He traced the 39-year development history of assisted reproductive technology with clear and humorous language. Now, we have conquered in vitro fertilization, medical assisted reproduction, intra-oocyte sperm injection and embryo transfer. In 2012, assisted reproductive technology won another breakthrough: “molecular scissors” can easily modify genes, and humans can finally no longer be controlled by their ancestral genes.
  In 1953, humans had already used frozen sperm, but it was not until 1999 that we waited until the first baby conceived with vitrified eggs was born in Australia. Vitrification is a method of freezing eggs at high speed-adding cryoprotectants during the freezing process to prevent egg cells from crystallizing. In 2015, France’s first baby Alice born from frozen eggs was born. Her mother frozen her eggs before receiving the extremely harmful ovarian chemotherapy. This case of frozen egg assisted reproduction is purely for medical reasons. However, as Jean-François Bouvet said, frozen eggs are gradually opening the door to selective reproduction, which means that eggs of good quality will be frozen at the age of 20, and then retrieved after 10, 20 or 30 years. Use it out. In France, egg freezing technology has not yet been approved. In fact, the French National Medical School is in favor, but the French Ethics Advisory Committee is opposed. In the United States, the licensing system for frozen eggs is still on the periphery. The current general trend is for several large frozen egg subsidiaries to jointly form an industry organization to discuss issues related to frozen eggs.
  Why do women choose to use their spouse’s sperm? Because many countries strictly regulate sperm donation procedures. But there are also many women who can already choose their children’s fathers from the sperm bank catalog: body shape, eye color, hair color, hair quality, blood type, education, professionalism, race, religious beliefs, whether they are with stars Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan, Javier Baden or Johnny Depp are somewhat similar… These options are provided by Danish Kreos, which stores more than 100 liters of frozen sperm from 700 donors semen. These semen samples will be stored in a constant temperature freezer box and shipped by air to the customer. Of course, many egg banks also operate similar businesses. Bouvet quoted a survey in the French “Echos” in the book. Egg donors (usually girls from prestigious American schools) donated an egg and could get paid between 10,000 and 40,000 US dollars.
  Should there be medically assisted reproduction programs for lesbian couples? Although the French Ethics Advisory Committee passed the proposal on July 15, this issue has still triggered a large discussion in French society. Bouvet showed several real cases, but did not clearly stand on one side. Another discussion was about IVF: Before embryo implantation, genetic diagnosis is performed and the appropriate embryo is selected. For some couples with genetic disease risk genes, preimplantation genetic diagnosis can eliminate the risk of offspring carrying genetic disease genes. However, some patriarchal families use this technique to determine the sex of the fetus, resulting in an uneven sex ratio in the national population. “In addition to gender, the technology can determine genes such as body shape, skin color, hair color, eye color, and even control the fetus’s intellectual potential in the future,” Bouvet said. “Nowadays, childbirth is increasingly inclined to personal choices and wishes “This reminds us of Einstein’s warning: “Technological progress is like an axe held in the hands of a perverted criminal.”
  However, this axe did not make the Chinese or Americans feel scared. They all tried their best to study “genius genes” and found the samples they needed to study among thousands of huge genetic samples. In Shenzhen, the talented boy Zhao Bowen has applied to the local government for funding a cognitive gene research laboratory. The United States is not far behind. The Einstein project funded by billionaire Jonathan Rosberg is dedicated to studying the genes of 400 of the nation’s best mathematicians and theoretical physicists. However, due to the small sample size, the project was unable to draw convincing conclusions. Therefore, when it comes to eugenics, Bouvet is still unable to make a statement with sufficient evidence.

The image of sperm injected into the egg under the microscope

  The best (or worst) result is coming: since humans were able to select genes independently, in 2015, a team of Chinese scientists announced the first experimental case of modifying a human embryo. “Human beings are becoming their own creators, which is shocking,” Bouvet said. Following the team of Chinese scientists, a Swedish hospital also conducted experiments to edit and modify genes. With “molecular scissors”, no matter what gene can be replaced by another gene, the method of changing genes becomes simple and affordable, just like assembling a toy. This method of genetic modification can eliminate some congenital diseases, and it can also make the body tissues capable of resisting the invasion of bacteria and viruses. However, in theory, such manipulation of genes will lead to the emergence of “super humans”. “We are using high technology to open the door to eugenics.” Bouvet warned.
  Bouvet did not forget to expand his associations in the book. In the future, some genes will no longer be inherited, and human reproduction will become mechanized. Should we be comforted by the emergence of Atlas babies, or worried? He clearly explained various clues and cases, and everyone can draw their own judgments from them.