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Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

Author: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 21 May 2015 | commentsComment
 
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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If it gets real, humanity will prove that not only gods can put the rules in life.
axyss - 21-May-15 @ 7:01 AM
My gf and Iare very interestedin hopefullyone day being able to have our baby from the same sex. If and when it's possible to do so when how do we go about it.
Nicole - 19-May-15 @ 7:39 PM
Is it possible for consumers yet? Those who are having problems with infertility? And is it possible in animals, example being a fixed male that you want to breed a litter of puppies now?
BluePanda3 - 19-May-15 @ 11:41 AM
If this becomes successful, Japan will have no choice but to legalize and implement it right away, because of their low birthrate and declining population.
kars - 24-Apr-15 @ 9:53 PM
How much would this cost very interesting article, hope the best for same sex reproduction since my brother is gay and Would make an excellent father with his wonderful glorious husband :)
LittleDuke - 17-Apr-15 @ 7:15 PM
Hi, I'm in a same-sex relationship and my girlfriend and I want to have kids in the future or maybe soon, is this a real procedure if so how do you go about doing it and who do you contact? Thanks.
Laurana - 2-Apr-15 @ 3:09 AM
This sounds extremely interesting for me as a girl whose lesbian. So in more easy words, you'd say it could be possible for two women to have a baby from both their genes and let's say one is carrying the womb and the other does the thing with the bone marrow step cell and it will be transplanted into the one carrying te child and they can have a healthy child together? Thank you, Einat
Einat - 25-Mar-15 @ 9:08 AM
@wouldbewench - men do not have wombs, so therefore can not carry children, a baby would not grow in the colon.
Charlie - 24-Mar-15 @ 11:53 AM
I would risk ectopic pregnancy in colon or elsewhere to be 1st man to have a baby
wouldbewench - 20-Mar-15 @ 8:22 PM
can a genetic male body carry a baby? if 2 males can reproduce maybe an ectopic pregnancy in an isolated part of the colon???
wouldbewench - 20-Mar-15 @ 8:20 PM
@Ed - there are a lot of people that agree with you and say we shouldn't play God with genetics. On the other hand stem cells may in the future provide so much help to people and will allow people to have children who ordinarily can't. I'm sure as time goes on the debates will be even more intensified as we go even further with research possibilities. As far as the other diseases such as cancer and AIDS, they are working on these just as hard and they have made incredible advances in the last few years.
Dr - 13-Mar-15 @ 12:29 PM
i feel science is going overboard. God did not make for the same sex to have children if so then He would of made it happen from the beginning. Second science is eating up the money that is needed for homeless people for food for a home for people that are sick and can not afford to buy medicine. I wish people would respect God on how he brought us into this world. I not to happy about same sex couple but I respect. Again science need to stop and let nature take its course and stop creating stuff that ends up killing people instead letting people enjoy life
sf - 12-Mar-15 @ 9:15 PM
@kargy - I'm afraid we can't advise you on specific organisations that run sperm donation programmes, but you can do a search online to find a suitable one for yourself.
ExploreStemCells - 12-Mar-15 @ 10:32 AM
I don't know about this. I am a 14 years old(and gay) and I would LOVE to have children however isn't this dangerous? I mean think about it. You are essentially inventing a human maybe even a new species! Besides in Biology I have learned about GMO's and how we might be able to pick out gens that we like and leave out ones that we don't so if you have black eyes you could might be able to give your child green, blue, or even gray eyes as long as you had the money. This is what I thought about when I read this. I feel like it isn't possible anyway though. I mean science has made a lot of empty promise; we still have AIDS, cancer, and several other deadly diseases out there. Why hasn't science fixed those problems?
Ed - 12-Mar-15 @ 1:03 AM
@klb - I think it's great you think that way. It still is not accepted by some people, but I hope by the time you come to get married and think about having children of your own, those people who disagree currently will have come around by then and same-sex marriage will be a fully acceptable part of society for all.
ExploreStemCells - 11-Mar-15 @ 10:21 AM
hi im a 30 year old guy i want to donet sperm.
kargy - 10-Mar-15 @ 9:18 AM
I'm 13 and a lesbian, and can't wait till the day that same-sex couples can have children. I want a family and to get married like most other people, where I live its legal to marry within the same gender. My one concern about this is that a lot of peoples are still against LGBTQ+ marriage, ( I don't know why though, but they are) and if their against us marrying, then what would they have to say about us being able to have children of our own. I am a proud supporter of all love, and equal rights to all. <3
klb - 9-Mar-15 @ 4:17 AM
@Itsraininglen - as much as this may sound encouraging, I imagine it will be a long time before any law will be passed that allows same-sex-reproduction, due to the fact it is and will remain an extremely controversial notion.
Harry - 27-Feb-15 @ 12:59 PM
This is very exciting news. I am gay and married (in the UK), and would love to have a child in the next 10-15 years or so, with my partner. I would love to participate in these experiments, so if there is any information on this, I would love to be kept in the loop.
Itsraininglen - 25-Feb-15 @ 6:43 PM
Oh, I'm so glad somebody thought about this and it wasn't just me. I can't neither reach with my mind the possibilities this discovery could bring to the human race. Either if I'm gay, I think this would be one of the biggest flights the whole human race will take in the near future. Bless you all, you are the people that could make our world a better, wonderful, place to live on.
Josh (16) - 23-Feb-15 @ 7:19 PM
If you're against this because it's 'not natural' blah blah, then get off the internet. The internet isn't natural, so why are you on it? While you're at it, throw out your microwave, television, and phone, too. Technology isn't natural, deal with it and leave the lesbian and gay community alone!
Baye - 13-Feb-15 @ 6:04 PM
I really hope that this research could be a success so that my partner and I could have a child of our own. When this become reality, please do let me know where could get the procedure done.
amaz_ing - 31-Jan-15 @ 1:33 PM
Sorry i meant Gracie near the beginning of this tread. And sorry for the rant. I was bored with nothing better to do.
Transcedence - 10-Jan-15 @ 11:41 PM
I would have to agree with Gracie (two comments above me). This is absolutely against nature to some extent. Although there are organisms that can reproduce asexually or even in some cases change gender entirely the idea that two genders within a species being able to procreate is not possible and so "against" nature because we have to resort to scientific intervention in order to circumvent this natural state. But to all those who are against it are simply afraid of the unknown. To me i'm all for it not for simple petty issues as "equality" which is subjective to sociocultural situations the scientific advantage of this for the future of human kind is invaluable. Imagine in the future we would no longer have to worry about reproduction, in so as between a male and female, so long as there as simply two participants willing to procreate. Also it could also lead into a future where we are all one gender, not either male or female, but a single unique gender as a species. That is what i find absolutely amazing about this research. Also i dont care if people are gay or not, you are what you are...PERIOD. Also those who are against it are religious fundamentalist that do not accurately represent their whole respective religious group.
Transcedence - 10-Jan-15 @ 11:39 PM
you do not think that God is great and if it make us a man or a woman that both can fulfill their emotional, sexual etc need then why a normal person needs to change their external and internal appearance.it is just a thought not critisim
sam - 27-Dec-14 @ 2:12 PM
I would be so happy to have a baby with my true love!
Jc - 23-Dec-14 @ 3:07 AM
I am 13 years old. People say that's not old enough to make decisions. Well I made mine I fell in love and I hapoen to fall in love with my best friend witch is also a girl...I'm not a lesbian but I plan on spending the REST of my life with her. I never plan to be with a man but want children I don't want a baby that is me and not her or a baby that is her and not me with some strange man we don't know we want a baby that is US so even if I have to get a degree in this field to make it happen I'm doing it for my wife and I and all the people like us that have found love
kk - 26-Nov-14 @ 10:52 PM
That is awesome. Just starting to look into that kind of research and am so pleased that there is already a lot of research going on about same sex reproduction. I would love to be of some kind of support so if anyone knows how to participate in the studies, please let me know! So excited about the future all of a sudden! :-)
SusannT - 7-Sep-14 @ 9:42 AM
I really hope they're doing this in the U.S. , I would love to have a child with my Gf (later on in time) that is biologically both of ours.
booboo - 23-Aug-14 @ 5:14 PM
Where do my Husband and I go for this procedure?
Derek - 11-Jul-14 @ 2:54 AM
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