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Posted at 02:10 PM ET, 02/28/2012

New report suggests a woman’s reproductive span may some day be far less limited

While certain presidential candidates debate the merits of contraception coverage and abortion rights, fertility science is bounding ahead.

A new report in the journal Nature Medicine suggests that a woman’s reproductive span may some day be far less limited.


What would society look like if women didn’t have a biological clock? (WALTRAUD GRUBITZSCH - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
The study results, for which some scientists remain skeptical, were reported Monday by the Associated Press. Scientists from Harvard and Japan claim to have used stem cells from healthy young women to grow eggs in lab dishes. They said they have “discovered the ovaries of young women harbor very rare stem cells capable of producing new eggs.”

If proved accurate, it might be a step toward lengthening the time on, or even shattering altogether, a woman’s biological clock.

Imagine.

No, really, imagine.

As someone who struggled through fertility treatments, I am in the cheering section for most advancements in the field. Still, some do bring pause.

Would unlimited fertility be all good?

Ann Patchett’s “State of Wonder” (Harper, 2011) explored one side of this, depicting a fictitious society where endless reproductive abilities practically enslaved women.

Today’s reality may offer a caveat, too.

If a substantially lengthened ability to reproduce were to be a social benefit, it would need to be accompanied by the ability for women to control their own decisions on fertility and their bodies.

That’s not a given everywhere. And, in some places where it seems to be, it still, perplexingly, remains a matter of some pubic debate.

What benefits can you foresee if science can eventually enable women to have endless fertility? What risks?

Related content:

Rick Santorum on prenatal tests: Can the future of pregnancy health care be stopped?

Is it okay to reduce a pregnancy from two to one?

From test tubes to social networks, fertility’s journey

Fertility treatment tax credit proposed

By  |  02:10 PM ET, 02/28/2012

Tags:  Ethics, Politics, Pregnancy

 
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