It used to be that reproduction was a seemingly straightforward thing: A man’s sperm met and clung to a woman’s egg. If the the stars aligned and the sperm successfully fertilized the egg, nine (and some change) months of waiting would result in a baby.
But it’s not always that straightforward. Couples deal with infertility, they may not always be a male-female pair, they don’t always want the sperm to meet the egg, and even when things work out, a baby might enter the world much sooner than it should. Reproduction was never as straightforward as the story we got told in sex ed class, but science didn’t have any answers for those offshoots.
In 2017, however, the possibilities that didn’t sit neatly within the standard narrative of reproduction were boldly broached: Could infertile women have babies? Could male contraception be a thing? Could artificial organs make people feel empowered to make the reproductive choices they want?
Yes, yes, and yes.
Here are five advances in babymaking (or lack thereof!) that are going to not only dramatically transform how we think about the birds and the bees but also the very way we think about reproduction