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Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 24 Apr 2017 | 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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They should do this.This would help a lot of people and probably advance science in other ways.I've heard that stem cells erase any damage.
Wildchild - 24-Apr-17 @ 1:34 PM
When do you think you will be able to attempt test trials on humans?
P - 7-Apr-17 @ 8:04 PM
You are bunch of sick unnatural people. Women and Women and Men and Men weren't supposed to have children together that's the whole reason opposite genders exist.
Life - 26-Mar-17 @ 12:50 AM
can't you just, if theres two women, get a sample of one of the womans eggs and then fertilise it and put the fetus into the other woman. then if you arent the biological mother then you are the birth mother and vise versa.
mybummy - 14-Mar-17 @ 6:36 AM
I hope I marry my dream boy in future and we both be parent like this??
Stunknown - 7-Mar-17 @ 11:00 AM
Its truly amazing how scientist are working hard to figure out making women's eggs into sperm. When this does get discovered there will be so many blessed women that can finally have a biological baby with there loved one and I hope it will be discovered in at least the next few years. My partner and I are waiting until the last very moment to have kids to find out if we can a biological baby of our own. It would mean so much for us and the majority for same sex couples. As for the controversy of religious views, the LGBTQ Community will hopefully conquer again against those who hate for wanting same sex couple to have a biological baby to cherish of our own.I really do hope scientist are at least getting closer.
Tay - 16-Feb-17 @ 9:44 PM
I am 59 years young and my husband to be wants a child with me.. I still have my ovaries and uterus. . Had my tubes tied 38 years ago.. and stopped menstrual cycle. . Is there any way of having a child together? Thank you
Mare - 26-Dec-16 @ 6:10 PM
I am a female and want to get impregnated by another female and I need to k ow the coats and the ability to do this because I want it soon. How much would iy cause to get pregnant by the same sex.
RayPaige - 13-Dec-16 @ 7:51 PM
with your roots and herbs you have enveloped my frown face with smile, slung to stand,tube tie burned alive, i used your herbs and root according to the instruction given it materialized,i have conceive now and delivered a baby boy,from letter A-z can't speak how joyful i'm. contact him via on facebook (Oduduwa Ajakaye)
peaceways - 6-Dec-16 @ 11:43 PM
I been waiting a baby for a long time now and it's impossible because am gay and it cost a lot of money to have a baby.. I been with my other half for 13 years and I hope that one day we can have our own family...
Kiko - 4-Dec-16 @ 2:51 AM
We married last 16 years l have non blockage azoospermia because of small testis we both hope this technique work and become to clinical trail soon we offering to put us for clinical trail if they want to contact via email
Gaz - 3-Nov-16 @ 10:29 PM
Pride4People - Your Question:
What year should we expect same sex couples to be able to reproduce alone?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict this, but it is unlikely to be for some years yet, if ever.
ExploreStemCells - 13-Oct-16 @ 1:39 PM
What year should we expect same sex couples to be able to reproduce alone?
Pride4People - 12-Oct-16 @ 11:19 PM
How much would something like this cost? They say it may be a reality by 2017 or 18, and things tend to be extremely expensive at first, but let's go down the road to 2027-28.
Sammi - 11-Oct-16 @ 9:28 PM
GayJay - Your Question:
I really hope that this is a reality soon. Me and my wife have been trying for years to get pregnant and have had no success. We have been together for 13 years and married for 3 year. I would love to be able to have a biological child with her so that they take both of our features instead of just mine or hers. It's also refreshing to see so much support on this topic under the article. It helps give us hope! If you can direct me to the clinical trials please that would be perfect!

Our Response:
I can direct you to the EuroStemCell site which will give you more information here. I hope this helps.
ExploreStemCells - 31-Aug-16 @ 10:18 AM
I really hope that this is a reality soon. Me and my wife have been trying for years to get pregnant and have had no success. We have been together for 13 years and married for 3 year. I would love to be able to have a biological child with her so that they take both of our features instead of just mine or hers. It's also refreshing to see so much support on this topic under the article. It helps give us hope! If you can direct me to the clinical trials please that would be perfect!
GayJay - 30-Aug-16 @ 3:48 AM
I hope this does happen cause it would be quite popular for the gay community.I have been looking into several different options for me and my partner to have a child.
NZ - 8-Aug-16 @ 1:20 PM
I wish the research could be a success because i'd love to have my own children with my women
Khumo - 5-Aug-16 @ 7:40 AM
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
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