Experimental Production

reProductive Narratives

Scientists published the first successful differentiation of human menstrual blood-derived endometrial mesenchymal stem cells (EnSCs) into oocyte-like cells. The authors Maja Smrekar and Gjino Šutić would like to induce Maja’s EnSCs (she has been collecting her menstrual blood for the last year), to differentiate them in-vitro into germ cells. They both understand the process of in-vitro transformation of one’s own menstrual blood stem cells into reproductive cells as a possibility that offers several emancipatory results.

The artistic idea derives from a project K-9_topology: ARTE_mis (2017) in which Maja Smrekars’ oocyte (immature egg cell) was in-vitro enucleated and fused with her dog’s Ada somatic cell. Before the formation of a blastocyst, it was frozen and got reanimated for an exhibition, but it is hard to predict whether the cell would be able to survive another reanimation. Smrekar and Šutić have therefore been drawn to explore further possibilities, only this time without the involvement of expensive, extremely hard and often embarrassing protocols of medical examinations, hormone treatments and invasive bodily procedures that approach the female body only from a severely technical IVF perspective.

In 2018 the artists came across a newly published scientific paper that describes the first successful differentiation of human menstrual blood-derived endometrial mesenchymal stem cells (EnSCs) into oocyte-like cells. EnSCs derived from menstrual blood are a unique stem cell source since they exhibit a multi-lineage potential and have therefore attracted extensive attention in regenerative medicine. They have also proved to be a very effective plant growth stimulator. Smrekar and Šutić would like to induce Maja’s EnSCs (she has been collecting her menstrual blood for the last year), to differentiate them invitro into germ cells. They both understand the process of in-vitro transformation of one’s own menstrual blood stem cells into reproductive cells as a possibility that offers several emancipatory results.