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Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

Author: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 27 February 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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@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
This is amazing! I searched this on Google like a few months ago and I really hoped that progress would be good in this field and I must say I'm impressed. I'm just glad that their are people who are doing this-this is an enormous help! :) I'm a teenager and I know that a lot can change over time so even though there are scientific blocks and the other blocks of the world..I'm trying not to get discouraged! :D Maybe when I'm forty or even in my mid-thirties ready to have children with my WIFE we can just "do our thing!" It will b e sonatural with no confrontations or obstacles-we'll just have babies all on our own-and many other people will be able to do the same! I'm so anxious for what you great people willl accomplish next for the world! (btw-I still can't imagine having a baby with some other strange MAN-it's called "making love" its suppose to be OUR child..not me and someone else!) so... I MUST say. THANK YOU SO MUCH:)
Awesum_1 - 3-Jul-14 @ 4:07 AM
This gives me hope that one day I can live a happy life with my partner and we can be able to have a child of our own. If we have a part in our body that can be a great significance to the way we reproduce I say we test it, and try to get answers . Even if I won't be able to live long enough and see this process finally come true I wish it could help those same sex partners in the future. Everyone deserves the right to be happy and be who they want to be. Continue with the research please !!!!
Osi - 31-May-14 @ 5:05 PM
From a religious perspective and a christian one, the bible claims that humans were made in the image and likeness of god. If we are made in his image and likeness then it is not surprising that we are capable of creating life from a scientific point...we are only doing what was intended for us...to create and design new things or in this case life. Many christians forget about the part where we are supposed to be just like god.
Mishka - 23-May-14 @ 3:25 AM
I hope this is a reality eventually. I want to be able to have a child with the one I love!
Daniel - 21-Jan-14 @ 7:48 PM
I'm really encouraged to see that scientific progress is advancing much more quickly than the primitive and unfortunate thinking that still binds all of us in this society (Y) Hopefully, this technology can achieve success quickly :) Even if it might not be safe, I'm certain the homosexuals out there who are so eager to have their children will not even hesitate about doing it. At the same time, I am also really really grateful to all the scientists and researchers and advocates of this technology (it will be a tough fight, but a meaningful one) And thank you Ian for this article, it has given hopes to many people who will continue to persevere on! I hope I will live long enough to witness all these remarkable technological feats! :D Let's persevere on! <3
hopeful - 4-Dec-13 @ 4:29 AM
Two y chromosomes can't make a human though. They don't hold the right kind of info or enough of it. Doesn't anyone see now that marriage is based on the subjugation of women, that it won't last much longer now that gay marriage is allowed? I am glad it's going. :) Anyway, since when do you need to be in a couple to have a baby? Well males do, but not females. Ohhhhhhhh I seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.......
Truthful Nacho - 31-Jul-13 @ 7:54 PM
Gracie, While I agree that this could have unforseeable negative outcomes, all the more reason to research thoroughly so that doesn't happen. As for going against nature, evolution occurs from a specific event, this could be said event. not to mention the already missing link in supposed human evolution... it's my personal opinion that human genetics were ALREADY tampered with somewhere down the line. since none of us have been around long enough to experience the entire existence of nature it's a bit presumptious to claim we know what goes against it and what doesn't. As for my opinion on the matter? why not but, let's "proceed with caution"
Rufus - 20-Feb-13 @ 1:18 AM
Amazing. The Sci-Fi world is not at all as far away as some people think. I can promise you that mankind in 2100 will be 100% different. There will be gay marriage worldwide, two men can legally father biological children, religion will be absent no more holding humanity back... I'm just in awe.
A. Hoffman - 27-Jan-13 @ 2:22 AM
@Gracie, based on your logic, IVF and Cochlear Implants are also mad science. You're a hateful idiot. Watch and see how we prosper, you WILL lose.
Yo Mama - 31-Dec-12 @ 2:25 PM
I would really like to know which lab in USA is focusing on the research of same-sex reproduciton. As a lesbian, I am willing to finish my PhD program on this topic.
Joy - 20-Dec-12 @ 4:03 AM
What exiciting timeswe live in
bonehead - 18-Aug-12 @ 3:06 PM
It is mad science and nothing more.If nature had intended for two of the same gender to procreate, this would have happened.This is utter insanity and ethically wrong on so many levels.It has nothing to do with gay marriage or the adoption of children.Same-sexed procreation is tampering with nature and the planet as it was formed. This mad science could spawn something terrible- new diseases or genetic defects.It is an outrage.
Gracie - 25-Jul-12 @ 10:13 PM
I think this is an amazing thing to be researching my girlfriend and I are looking to get pregnant in a few years and I would love to have her be the mother of our child just as much as I am. I saw a movie called "The Baby Formula" that was a documentary on two lesbians who tested this out and had two beautiful baby girls. I really hope that things will pass through politacly. This would be an amazing advancment in science and a blessing to same sex couples.
Dannielle - 1-Jun-12 @ 5:39 PM
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  • Harry
    Re: Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction
    @Itsraininglen - as much as this may sound encouraging, I imagine it will be a long time before any law will be passed…
    27 February 2015
  • Itsraininglen
    Re: Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction
    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…
    25 February 2015
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