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Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 24 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Same Sex Reproduction Political Ethical

Stem cells have generated such an enormous amount of interest, in part, because of their applications related to areas such as fertility and genetics. In that same light, their interest for solving reproductive challenges has also generated a great deal of controversy. This is particularly true in the application of stem cells to facilitate reproduction for gay couples.

At present, there are a number of research laboratories that are focused on the creation of cells that are genetically male but have been produced from eggs. Alternately, they are also trying to create sperm from female eggs. If the research proves to work, the consequences are particularly important for gay and lesbian couples that wish to have children. The idea is, however, an extremely controversial one that mixes in with politics, religion and ethics. Many individuals oppose same-sex reproduction while gay and lesbian couples - as well as heterosexual members of the public - argue that gay persons should have the right to produce and raise biological children if the opportunity becomes available.

Current Research for Same Sex Reproduction

The techniques purported to allow same-sex reproduction have yet to be successful but they do hold promise. They include methods of cellular reprogramming and even techniques such as artificial chromosomes. While they have not been shown to work at present, they do hold potential for the future of same-sex reproduction. One particular technique involves the creation of sperm from human stem cells. In a recent experiment, bone marrow stem cells were extracted from men and they were then triggered into spermatogonia. These cells are able to develop into immature sperm cells. The experiment was widely reported in the news but has not yet been published or successfully replicated.

In another experiment, spermatogonia were triggered to begin meiosis after being cultured with cells known as Sertoli cells. These cells are found in the testes and are important because they support developing sperm. While the research team for this particular experiment has yet to obtain these kinds of results with the production of eggs, a team in Brazil does cite that they have created sperm and eggs from embryonic stem cells. Whether or not the eggs can actually produce viable offspring, however, is the most vital aspect of this type of experimentation. Still, the work does still show that potential for same-sex reproduction exists, and it will likely spur further research in this area.

Safety Concerns

Safety is a key aspect of stem cell research - this aspect is more important than ever when addressing the potential for same-sex reproduction. When cells are triggered into change, there is the possibility that they grow uncontrolled and are more likely to lead to cancer. The enormity of the cell modification that occurs to create female sperm is also of concern, especially with regards to any chromosomal abnormalities or problems that can occur through the use of artificial chromosomes.

Controversy of Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

Unfortunately, the pathway to realistically providing the techniques to support same-sex reproduction is a complicated one in terms of political, religious and ethical controversy. Most conservative religious groups are strongly opposed to same-sex relationships, so it follows without surprise that they are against same-sex reproduction. This means that even if same-sex reproduction becomes a successful reality, there are still numerous hurdles to overcome before the techniques can actually be put into practice.

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A discovery in Japan about how the female medaka fish can produce sperm in the ovaries, and also scientists in Japan have created PGCs from human iPSCs,maybe can help the scientist to find a genetic switch in woman's germ cells then deactivate it so spermatogenesis can be occured. I hope that could be happened n the future.
ekw79 - 22-Jul-16 @ 3:00 PM
Me and my wife had been trying for years, until we found out that she could not have children.I know their is adoption but me and my wife really want someone like us to grow old with and teach him or her.Where their parents stand in world.I hope and pray your research goes well, it might even give us some hope that our dream might have some light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck and god bless all.
Paul - 15-Jul-16 @ 3:41 PM
If me and my wife were to have children and convert one of our egg cells into a sperm cell, would someone else be able to carry the baby? Or would it have to be one of us to carry the baby?
RedRose - 19-Jun-16 @ 7:30 PM
Andy - Your Question:
For all the religious people, don't push your beliefs on others. Don't stifle others; you may believe that a floating man in the sky created us, but I'm able to accept that we were made by chance. of science can make a child obviously it's what can happen, and SHOULD happen. If people have a chance to have a child when they want to why deny them? So that you can be in the "straight club"? Make a difference for the better instead of trying to hinder the inevitable. There are starving and homeless out there that could use help. Protest the real issues, not referencing a story book written from word of mouth, and edited by multiple nations thoughout history. Sorry for the rant. But being open minded is what makes it possible for society to progress.

Our Response:
Thanks for your comments - I'm sure our readers will find them interesting. If we all thought the same the world would be a very dull place - but it's good to debate these issues.
ExploreStemCells - 23-May-16 @ 10:32 AM
For all the religious people, don't push your beliefs on others. Don't stifle others; you may believe that a floating man in the sky created us, but I'm able to accept that we were made by chance. of science can make a child obviously it's what can happen, and SHOULD happen. If people have a chance to have a child when they want to why deny them? So that you can be in the "straight club"? Make a difference for the better instead of trying to hinder the inevitable. There are starving and homeless out there that could use help. Protest the real issues, not referencing a story book written from word of mouth, and edited by multiple nations thoughout history. Sorry for the rant. But being open minded is what makes it possible for society to progress.
Andy - 22-May-16 @ 8:42 AM
@ I know this process has a name, because I have found it before. If anybody can find out or recall the name of this process that would be amazing. ddmed99 - 8-Nov-15 @ 8:35 PM The Process is most commonly called in vitro gametogenesis if you were still curious. I'm just finishing up a bio-medical anthropology assignment where I've used this as my focal point. Hypothetically there's a great deal of benefit IVG could lend to assisted reproduction technologies, but its still a while off. Meanwhile for you guys out there and on a continuation of the Sci-Fi factor of things, there is a research team based in Italy apparently that are working on artificial wombs to develop goats! So if both technologies came into fruition you could say goodbye to the legal issues surrounding surrogacy... though there's bound to be a great deal of Ethical Issues in the way regardless.
foxfire - 19-May-16 @ 11:35 AM
Ford - Your Question:
Are there any studies that take volunteers?

Our Response:
If you mean you wish to sign up for clinical trials you can do so via the link here.
ExploreStemCells - 16-May-16 @ 12:25 PM
Are there any studies that take volunteers?
Ford - 15-May-16 @ 9:09 PM
Starman11 - Your Question:
I don't see the problem with same sex reproduction. There are many species that can change sex (including reproductive functions), it certainly is not unethical or unnatural. Sure, there are plenty of kids already that need parents, but that isn't the fault of same sex couples, it is the people who created that childs fault.If the world really is that badly overpopulated, then why do so many people continue to overpopulate it? I'm not gay, but I am transgender, and I know I can adopt a child if I want to be a parent, and I will bare that in mind, on the other hand, I would also like the opportunity to maybe create my own children, just like other men do. I think we deserve the right to procreate just like heterosexual cisgender people do. There is no reason why this shouldn't happen.

Our Response:
Many thanks for your interesting views and comments.
ExploreStemCells - 10-May-16 @ 2:18 PM
I don't see the problem with same sex reproduction. There are many species that can change sex (including reproductive functions), it certainly is not unethical or unnatural. Sure, there are plenty of kids already that need parents, but that isn't the fault of same sex couples, it is the people who created that childs fault. If the world really is that badly overpopulated, then why do so many people continue to overpopulate it? I'm not gay, but I am transgender, and I know I can adopt a child if I want to be a parent, and I will bare that in mind, on the other hand, I would also like the opportunity to maybe create my own children, just like other men do. I think we deserve the right to procreate just like heterosexual cisgender people do. There is no reason why this shouldn't happen.
Starman11 - 9-May-16 @ 10:28 PM
As recently as 2015 research using primordial germ cells in mice has shown that these cells can be turned into eggs and sperm capable of forming pups (baby mice).Yes, doing this for humans will be more complicated but this article gives the impression there's only one method and that there has been no examples of this being successful artificially.That's simply not true - it has.
Pdavis - 3-May-16 @ 2:06 AM
Dear Ian Murnaghan, Could you please include links to the scientific articles that you used as sources to write this article? Or maybe links to the websites of research groups working on this? I am writing a research proposal for my embryology course (BSc) and would be very curious to read more. Kind regards, Ann
Ann - 28-Apr-16 @ 2:29 PM
Who tf would do this!? First of all it is meant for a MAN AND WOMAN to create a life not a woman and woman or man and man . Believe what you want but nowhere in the Bible does it allow same sex to create life . Did any of you read where it says that this type of procedure may cause cancer or giants or midget children!? Why would you put a child through this type of experiment just to be as selfish as trying to do the impossible? Same sex wasn't meant to make life, if it was you wouldn't have such risks to create it . I don't care what any of you say, anyone who approves of this is helping them eliminate HUMANITY. Cause I GUARANTEE that NONE of this is humane .
wtf - 20-Apr-16 @ 4:04 PM
Is there any experiment to be done on human body? We are a couple and would love to be a part of this experiment. We are eagerly waiting to hear from you and to hold that gene of ours once n this life.
Couple - 16-Apr-16 @ 11:36 AM
There are so many people ready to participate in such research. If and when this study became an actual thing, it the people who came up with it and helped the lgbt community have children of their own would basically be worshiped. I know my wife and I have been searching for something like this for years. We have 1 child. But we want more that aren't just mine or just hers.
Mmorgan1 - 7-Apr-16 @ 6:33 PM
Me and my girlfriend would love to sign up because very interested to try something like this.so we can finally have biogical children.
Chlo - 4-Apr-16 @ 11:59 PM
I'd just like to bring up the fact that we shouldn't allow religion to get in the way of science. Not everyone has the belief that these things are wrong to their God figure, and people should not have their opportunities denied because of it. I absolutely despise it when religion is used as an excuse for all people to have good things in life. I understand that you may not have meant it to be so offensive, but scientists shouldn't let religious people with hurt feelings stop their work.
TLB - 29-Mar-16 @ 4:20 PM
BELLA - Your Question:
Do you have any idea of dates yet as to when this will become available? Thank you x x x

Our Response:
I'm afraid we do not, as specified in the article, unfortunately, the pathway to realistically providing the techniques to support same-sex reproduction is a complicated one in terms of political, religious and ethical controversy. Most conservative religious groups are strongly opposed to same-sex relationships, so it follows without surprise that they are against same-sex reproduction. This means that even if same-sex reproduction becomes a successful reality, there are still numerous hurdles to overcome before the techniques can actually be put into practice. This means it may not even be in our lifetime.
ExploreStemCells - 1-Mar-16 @ 11:07 AM
Do you have any idea of dates yet as to when this will become available? Thank you x x x
BELLA - 29-Feb-16 @ 10:27 AM
thumper - Your Question:
How much does this cost? How old do we have to be?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, this is still in the theoretical stages of research.
ExploreStemCells - 22-Dec-15 @ 1:51 PM
How much does this cost? How old do we have to be?
thumper - 21-Dec-15 @ 10:37 PM
My girlfriend and I would love to participate as a couple that goes under such experiment! If this is possible and there is some way we could go about having a child together, please contact me via email. Thanks so much, blessings to all
tazia - 2-Dec-15 @ 3:48 PM
Who would we contact to do this ? And like how much ? Seriously very interested.
Austin - 16-Nov-15 @ 6:56 PM
I love all the potential with stem cell research. It's truly amazing. And if one day this is developed into a safe, successful procedure imagine the joy of Trans folk or gay/lesbian couples knowing they can have biological children
Dr. Connor - 11-Nov-15 @ 11:55 PM
I know this process has a name, because I have found it before. If anybody can find out or recall the name of this process that would be amazing.
ddmed99 - 8-Nov-15 @ 8:35 PM
Me and my girlfriend are curious on how much it would cost or where we could see about signing up because we are very interested in trying this.
bsmith082996 - 31-Oct-15 @ 7:11 PM
I've been looking into this for some time but I have not found anything updated about it.I'm definitely curious if it's happening in the United States as in right now.Please email me.Thank you.
herlove - 21-Oct-15 @ 9:11 PM
This isn't going to be a wide spread thing any time soon. It's still in early development plus you still have the theoretically dangerous side of it and morally ambiguousness to make it controversial enough that it could be illegal to the public in various areas. I think it's wonderful and I honestly hope it gains a lot of support. All the people are saying its us playing god but we've been doing that with selective breeding of dogs, cats, cattle, and livestock and medical research like blood transfusions, immunizations, and surgery for centuries now. If God didn't want us to move forward and test our limitations, then he wouldn't have created the tree of knowledge to begin with or even created us.
Deb - 1-Aug-15 @ 11:19 PM
So far from nature. It's horrendous. Mad-science is no longer a thing of fantasy.
dipaolo - 24-Jul-15 @ 8:54 AM
Ed: i think it would be fun to have a child with your lover. I'm gay and I would see my lover's and my chormosomes in a child. I wouldn't mind having carrying the baby, either. i wouldn't mind being a stay at home daddy
Flynn - 26-Jun-15 @ 11:23 PM
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