For the first time ever, human babies have been born using a sperm-injecting robot. This revolutionary procedure was carried out with the help of a remote-controlled needle and a camera that was used to penetrate the eggs in a petri dish and drop off a single sperm cell. The robot used in the process helped to fertilize more than a dozen eggs. Eduard Alba, a student mechanical engineer, commanded the sperm-injecting device using a Sony PlayStation 5 controller.

This breakthrough procedure, developed by startup Overture Life, has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of IVF by thousands of dollars. The cost of IVF is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for couples who are struggling with fertility issues. A single attempt at IVF can cost upwards of $20,000 in the US. The steep cost of IVF and the scarcity of insurance coverage means women getting fertility care are wealthier on average.

According to MIT researchers, a patient’s eggs could potentially be directed into an automated fertility system using a sperm-injecting robot. This could be the start to cutting costs of the multi-million-dollar IVF operation. Approximately half a million babies are born through IVF worldwide every year, but most people looking to have kids can’t typically afford the service.

Santiago Munné, a geneticist who is chief innovation officer at Overture Life, says, “It has to be cheaper. And if any doctor could do it, it would be.” The company has raised nearly $40 million from investors so far, and with this groundbreaking technology, the cost of IVF could significantly decrease in the future.

While the procedure is a major technological advancement, it does raise ethical concerns. Some experts have expressed concern that the procedure could lead to a dystopian future of “designer babies” and eugenics. However, proponents of the technology argue that it could allow people who would not otherwise be able to afford IVF to have children.

The sperm-injecting robot is still in its early stages of development, but it is an exciting glimpse into what the future of fertility treatment could look like. As the technology advances and becomes more accessible, it could change the lives of countless couples who are struggling with fertility issues.