Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 45, Issue 7, pp 1620–1632 | Cite as

Balancing Ethical Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Derived Gametes

  • Seppe SegersEmail author
  • Heidi Mertes
  • Guido de Wert
  • Wybo Dondorp
  • Guido Pennings
Reproductive Tissue Engineering


In this review we aim to provide an overview of the most important ethical pros and cons of stem cell derived gametes (SCD-gametes), as a contribution to the debate about reproductive tissue engineering. Derivation of gametes from stem cells holds promising applications both for research and for clinical use in assisted reproduction. We explore the ethical issues connected to gametes derived from embryonic stem cells (both patient specific and non-patient specific) as well as those related to gametes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. The technology of SCD-gametes raises moral concerns of how reproductive autonomy relates to issues of embryo destruction, safety, access, and applications beyond clinical infertility.


Artificial gametes Assisted reproductive technologies Embryo research Gametogenesis Infertility Parenthood Stem cells 



The study was funded by Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT), (Project Number: 150042).

Conflict of interest

There are no relevant conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seppe Segers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heidi Mertes
    • 1
  • Guido de Wert
    • 2
  • Wybo Dondorp
    • 2
  • Guido Pennings
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Bioethics Institute GhentGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Health, Ethics and Society, Research Schools CAPHRI and GROWMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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