A recent story carried by the Associated Press is causing goose pimples among couples plagued by infertility.
Scientists at Kyoto University in Japan have genetically reprogrammed skin cells from mice and changed them into eggs, leading to the successful production of baby mice.
If the technology can be adapted for humans, the scientific breakthrough is a boon to women who are unable to have children because of a medical condition, cancer treatment, advanced age or the fact that they live in a state where the science textbooks still talk about the miracle of delivery by the stork.
Reactions in the scientific world vary wildly. Some say this therapy will be available to humans within 10 years. Skeptics think it will NEVER be practical for humans. And the overeager promise that babies will be flying around the nursery with their own jetpacks.
The Japanese scientists caution that many technical and ethical questions remain, including “Will our butts be sued if the eggs develop into giant moth-creatures or prehistoric lizard-creatures?”
The innovation of making eggs from skin will have a big impact on naming trends. Instead of “Emma” or “Ava,” look for every classroom to have multiple Botoxias. Those omnipresent TV redneck shows may soon be populated with Eczema-bobs and Irregular Mole-bobs.
If women are no longer racing their biological clocks and can be more selective, sperm banks will have to compete more aggressively (“Free toaster with each blue-eyed athletic stockbroker”) and guys will have to up their game to be seen as Mr. Right. (“Sure I’m Mr. Right – I sprayed RIGHT Guard on the laundry and I’m RIGHT here on the couch when you bring home your paycheck, ain’t I?”)
One commentator said society is still squeamish about the idea of older mothers. The move toward substantially older mothers will certainly bring subtle changes to the preparation for the blessed event, as mothers-to-be rush to “replace the furniture, replace the drapes, replace the smoke alarm batteries, replace my hip, replace my knees, replace my corneas…”
Familiar motherly sayings will morph into “Be sure mommy wears clean underwear in case there’s an accident,” “Here—you can lick the Metamucil spoon,” and “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge – could you find an alternate route to get me to my bingo game on time?”
Nagging doubts remain. What will become of orphans if millions find a new motherhood route other than adoption? (“Ten percent of profits from the procedure will pay choreographers to teach orphans the ‘It’s The Hard Knock Life’ routine.”)
Is it wise to mass produce mothers who may have only a few good years to spend with their offspring? Will child labor laws suffer if some women still produce children primarily to have someone to take care of them in their old age? (“See if The Count on ‘Sesame Street’ can help you count the tons of coal you mine today.”)
My wife and I struggled with infertility issues for eight years before alternative medicine helped us have a healthy baby boy, so I feel the pain of those to whom the skin-to-egg announcement brings a ray of hope.
Just be prepared for the tough questions.
“Momma, where did I come from?”
“Just never you mind, little Derriere-ica.”
Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.