New medical breakthrough suggests babies possible without female egg

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For roughly 200 years, scientists have been operating under the belief that to spawn life, one needed an egg cell.

Researchers at the University of Bath have found a workaround, creating baby mice by injecting sperm into an embryo.

Using chemicals, the process involved tricking non-fertilized eggs into becoming embryos.

While such creations typically perish in days, adding sperm to them results in a 24% chance of full development.

According to a press release about the study, "The baby mice born as a result of the technique seem completely healthy, but their DNA started out with different epigenetic marks compared with normal fertilisation. This suggests that different epigenetic pathways can lead to the same developmental destination, something not previously shown."

It also notes, "...in the long-term future it could be possible to breed animals using non-egg cells and sperm. Although this is still only an idea, it could have potential future applications in human fertility treatment and for breeding endangered species."

RELATED: Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy
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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

Advanced maternal age

Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers age 35 and older.

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Lifestyle choices

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

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Medical history

 A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth — birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

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Underlying conditions

Chronic conditions — such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy — increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition also can increase pregnancy risks.

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Pregnancy complications

Various complications that develop during pregnancy pose risks, such as problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta. Other concerns might include too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), restricted fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

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Multiple pregnancy

Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.

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