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a person in a lab coat looks through a microscope

The Japanese biologist Katsuhiko Hayashi said earlier this year that he believes it will be possible to create a human egg from skin cells within a decade. He and his colleagues have already turned skin cells from male mice into mouse eggs and used them to breed baby mice.

Matt Krisiloff, chief executive officer of Conception Biosciences, has dozens of scientists working at a lab in Berkeley, Calif., trying to make eggs outside ovaries. Such a technique could allow women to have biological children later in life.

Krisiloff, who is gay, says the technology, known as in vitro gametogenesis or IVG, could also help male couples have biological children without anyone else’s genes. Echoing the desire that has driven so many advances in reproductive technologies, Krisiloff says, “I want the chance to have biological kids with my partner.”

Reproductive technology has already reshaped the way families are made. Flash-freezing techniques enable eggs to be stored for years in banks, then thawed for use. Babies have been born using a technique that incorporates DNA from three people. And in vitro fertilization...