In 2008, Dr. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine chaperoned a group of mating rabbits. But this wasn’t any group of rabbits. The males had all been given lab-grown penises, an idea he’d been working on since 1992.
Of the 12 rabbits given bioengineered penises, all of them attempted mating. Eight of the rabbits successfully ejaculated, and four rabbits had offspring.
By 2014, Atala and his team had created six human penises with the hopes of obtaining FDA approval for human transplant. The scientists put the lab-grown organs through rigorous testing, using a machine to pull and squeeze them to make sure they hold up to everyday wear and tear.
The team also set up machines to pump fluid through the organs to ensure that they can handle erections. As of 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration had not approved the lab-grown organs for human transplantation in the general population.