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Stem Cells and Same Sex Reproduction

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 16 Sep 2018 | 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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This seems promising. I hope by 2030 this becomes a reality. Until then I’ll read the comments below me and see what other think about this subject.
You don’t need to kn - 16-Sep-18 @ 8:38 PM
I am very, very hopeful that the names of these institutes studying stem cells for reproduction will become more apparent! As it is, IVF is not the option I want to do as a transman with my cis-female partner. She is not bothered like I am in having a donor, but I do NOT want someone else's DNA mixed up in our child! Those who have the privilege of being cis/hetero with functioning baby makers, please do not weigh in your opinions of this being "wrong" or like "cloning" or "playing god". Science has been stunted enough by religious dogma for thousands of years (for god's sake we weren't even allowed to think the earth revolved around the sun because of it) and just because you have an uninformed opinion about our existence does not make us disappear. I am a full-fledged male that wants to have children with my partner! I would give anything for this to be possible between just she and I. I'm excited to see how this progresses. I worry about possible cellular issues, but I will remain hopeful!!
JJ - 14-Aug-18 @ 8:27 PM
Im glad research has been put into this but I also agree you cant focus on religious people. If they end up burning people by the stake and calling them witch they'll definitely end up in jail. I went a little off topic My point was we shouldnt focus on religion. For those that says it goes against your religion dont get involved. At least let other families be happy and enjoy their lives. If you put anyone else at risk for what you believe in religion or your own views just know your actions will come back for you. We live in the 21st century lets at least consider how precious a life is to us and each other. I say go for it to help all those men, women, lesbians, gay, and transgender individuals to start a happy and joyous family life
Yuki - 24-Jun-18 @ 9:46 PM
There is a lot of talk about same sex couples here but how about other conditions that make procreation impossible? I am a 50 year old heterosexual male but never been able to conceive naturally and now too old to be a sperm donor.I would dearly welcome the chance to donate my 'stem cells' instead of sperm, to a willing female of any age and have the embryo fertilised via surrogacy.Could this be a safer method to conceive at my age given the risks of old sperm or old eggs and perhaps be a future service available for all conditions? Advice would be appreciated.
Unusual1 - 24-Apr-18 @ 12:54 AM
I think science is great and if you guys can pull this off I'm sure you'll make millions of people happy. I know for a fact me and my girl want a baby but we want the baby to be both our flesh and blood to look like both of us. We both always dreamed of having a child and this would be a dream come true
Case - 2-Apr-18 @ 11:38 PM
Iam hoping this stem cell research will allow a transwoman like me to grow a uterus, so I can carry ababy. I dont care if it is a test tube baby, I am just desparate to become pregnant, & I dont want to wait 10 yrs!Esther
esther - 15-Mar-18 @ 6:51 PM
Hi! I'm also interested in this research. I wonder if anyone among you knows on reproduction from 2 oocytes (without sperm from a male mate or donoor). Is It possible and legal in any nation around the world?
Debbie - 26-Jan-18 @ 7:48 PM
Me and my partner jill, are actually wanting for more progress for this to occur because we are ecstatic for this research and hope one day for us to have our own child together
Karen - 10-Dec-17 @ 12:43 AM
My partner is trans male and we’d like to have kids in our future but he’d always get sad about the fact that they wouldn’t biologically be his so this would be an amazing thing to develop even more
L - 2-Dec-17 @ 3:04 AM
Im a trans man and this literally gives me hope to be able to have my own kids which are genetically mine and my future wife's. Science is amazing and I hope this really does happen.. it would be an amazing thing for us trans men.. finally being able to have a baby the way a cis guys can, with his wife. Keep it up and I hope to see this as a future option when it comes time for me to have kids.
Joe - 24-Nov-17 @ 8:57 AM
Where can we go for stem cell with my same gender partner. We don't have cash but we need a bby.
Mon - 13-Nov-17 @ 8:27 PM
My transgender spouse has just proposed to me. He is a female transitioning into a male. We hope to have children in our future one day and would like to know more about making this a possibility. This knowledge gives us hope. Not everyone is born in the right bodies and if they are making surgery for transgender people illegal, then why isn't this the next step. This should have been expected. Everyone should have the equal opportunity to raise a family of their own. A family with their own blood and genes, qualituies that define them for the next generation, no matter what the sex.
Lulu143 - 9-Nov-17 @ 12:49 AM
I dont understand why you are focussed on religious people? As far as I know, no matter about how many people we talk, it should never stop science from anything. Or this will be just another thing that will never happen, and will end up in a 'what we could have accomplished if we didnt have religion, ethnics etc obstacles' box. To the ppl saying it was gods plan..if you ever have a lifethreatening disease.Dont go to the hospital because that would ruin gods plan for you as its also cheating death -_- Thank you everyone who work in science, you amaze me every time Im a dutch. 29 year old FtM (child wish. No eggs kept, and they never asked me if I wanted to though, so yeah.)
ThankyouScience - 30-Oct-17 @ 1:13 PM
We are waiting for a long time to happen such research would be able us biologically parents if they need volunteers we present ourselves
Gaz - 28-Oct-17 @ 3:40 AM
Hello! I am interested in researching same sex reproduction and was wondering if you have any data and methodology you could share!
Elanine - 13-Sep-17 @ 3:48 PM
This would be great! I'm excited to see where this goes.
Mo - 8-Sep-17 @ 11:58 PM
I am a transman and this is gives me hope for my future. I hope this will happen in my life time, so I can experience raising my own without giving birth. It would mean a lot to all us transguys out there wanting to have a family and settle down with our spouse or partner. Keep up the good work! Great things are yet to come!
JJ - 6-Sep-17 @ 12:25 AM
I'm really excited for this research to be successful and kickoff. My wife and I have been waiting for an opportunity to have one of our own, we hope that it will be accomplished within our lifetime. If you need help with funding or if you need volunteers to better expediate this process, please let me know.
J - 30-Aug-17 @ 4:35 PM
People bringing up God if Mary got pregnant and she was avirgin ...then What does that tell You so stop with the whole bible and god bs
Cool - 14-Jul-17 @ 3:46 AM
Bone marrow stem Cells to sperm from woman to fertilise her female partner for s female baby has been published for over 10years now!! Can somwhere tell me where I have to go and how I can be apart of making this a reality please!!! And yes taking stem cells from my ovaries is even better but just let's do this!!!! I am now 35 and my partners are always younger but like 28 so we don't have forever and unfortunately they all want to bare children (let's not discuss that they mostly want a c-section ??). I would rather just adopt all those ALREADY here or at least give my ovaries to even out the contribution scale. But if you need guinie pigs to pioneer this here I am!!!
Echo3 - 7-Jun-17 @ 4:09 PM
Thank you for this research and providing hope and opportunity for a family for me
Lewis - 17-May-17 @ 1:04 PM
This new science project is cheating what god planned for you that is why if you don't get children you should be happy that you hav a life at all instead of having science making kid it reminds me of the cloning process.
Wib - 16-May-17 @ 6:47 PM
I really want to have a child with my same sex partner, I would carry it as he identifies as male though I think it would not only be nice to have a child it would be a positive thing for him as well.
Anon - 1-May-17 @ 3:22 AM
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
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