Couples are turning to the laboratory to create "biojewelry" – bone rings grown from their DNA as a token of their love.
In an extreme test of devotion, they must submit to the removal of wisdom teeth and the extraction of a fragment of jawbone. A team has won ethical approval for the procedure, which is attracting commercial interest.
Tobie Kerridge, a British Royal College of Art research fellow and co-inventor of the idea, said it would cost about $11,700 to produce each ring.
Matthew Harrison, 25, who with his girlfriend, Harriet Harriss, 32, is to exchange rings, conceded that others might find it "disgusting".
But Mr Harrison, a product designer from London, said: "I see it as a set of biological connections instead of something like marriage, a legal connection." Ms Harriss described it as "incredibly poetic".
They are among four couples selected from hundreds of volunteers who will undergo the procedure at Guy’s Hospital in London. Scientists, led by Ian Thompson of King’s College, London, will use techniques pioneered for growing tissue outside the body.
Cells from a fragment of jawbone will be "seeded" on a ring-shaped scaffold structure, where they will grow for six to eight weeks.
The bone sample will then be crafted into a ring by Nikki Stott, a jewellery designer at the Royal College of Art.
Mr Kerridge has received an inquiry from an American venture capitalist, but the team has no plans to cash in.
From The Sunday Times of London