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Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 5 Feb 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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[Add a Comment]
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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Bob - 9-Jun-15 @ 7:50 AM
If the tech is available in the future, it will be faced with many ethic and religious controversy as many religious groups don't accept same sex relationship, needless to say the children from same sex parents. But at present, the tech is under develop, there is enough time to settle this problem-BOC Sciences
ada - 9-Jun-15 @ 7:46 AM
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
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