Sex Is History: Aarathi Prasad On A Future Without Sexual Reproduction

Aarathi Prasad believes that a future involving reproduction without sex will soon be well within our grasp.

In her new book, Like A Virgin, the scientist and presenter talks at great length about scientific reproductive advances that have already been used successfully on animals and could define the future of human reproduction.

Portrait of Aarathi Prasad by Anjali Bhargava

Prasad describes how artificial sperm or eggs can be created using stem cells and chromosomes to enable fertilisation.

This technique saw the birth of a baby mouse called Kaguya in 2004 - conceived using synthetic sperm made from the genetic material of an egg from a young mouse to fertilise an egg from a mature mouse.

Like A Virgin also draws on the construction of an artificial womb used in Australia to grow shark foetuses. If used with human embryos this could change the future of parenting by taking the onus away from women by allowing parents to share childcare duties or providing men with the capacity to have children without a woman.

Controversial sex books

Prasad hopes that reproductive science will be allowed to develop to its full potential and believes that life is not sacred, although she is mindful of ethical concerns developments could raise - such as the bond between mother and baby in the womb and religious beliefs.

For Prasad it is not a question of whether these advances will be made, but a question of when.

For all those that in doubt, think back to a time when IVF treatment and test tube babies were but a distant scientific concept.

Fertility Breakthroughs