What can be done to prevent miscarriage and birth defects during the critical first few weeks of pregnancy?

Insoo Hyun, renowned bioethicist and philosopher, sits down with Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz from Caltech and the University of Cambridge to discuss her important work that peers into the so-called “black box” of pregnancy.

In human development, the first two weeks are an important time when the embryo implants into the uterus. This is when many pregnancies are lost. Scientists have only been able to study this period of human development in a dish using donated human embryos. Legal restrictions in the UK currently prevent the culture of natural human embryos in the lab beyond day 14 of development.

Zernicka-Goetz and her team have created stem cell-derived models of human embryos in the lab. This breakthrough will help scientists uncover the causes of genetic disorders as well as understand why and how pregnancies fail during the mysterious "black box" period of pregnancy.

Driven by her own experiences with pregnancy, Zernicka-Goetz has been laser-focused on the earliest stages of development to better understand why some pregnancies are at risk for birth defects and others fail altogether. While her models mimic aspects of human embryo development, they can’t develop into viable human beings. They may however reduce the need for donated human embryos in research on early human development.

This is exciting news for those who struggle with infertility. These human embryo models may help scientists solve the mysteries of failed pregnancies and birth defects. Read more about the human embryo models derived from stem cells: https://apnews.com/article/embryo-ste...