Thursday, December 13, 2012

[Global] - LGBT Parenting through stem cells a possibility - Examiner - Paul Cogan

This was reported a couple of months ago in the news, but I recently had it brought to my attention.  It is an exciting and interesting prospect, but one no-doubt filled with ethical considerations.

[Source: Original Article]

A breakthrough in fertility research lays open the possibility that LGBT parenting couples could someday have children who are completely genetically their own. Research on mice has created sperm and eggs from stem cells has big implications for same-sex parenting couples. Same-sex couples could create their own sperm and eggs and join them to have a child.

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have created eggs from stem cells in mice and used them to produce healthy offspring, NPR reports. They first used embryonic stem cells, then repeated the results in stem cells created from adult cells, such as blood or skin. The same team previously created sperm from stem cells. Stem cells can morph into any cell in the body.

If the results from mice could be duplicated in humans — scientists say mice are sufficiently similar to humans that it could happen — same-sex couples could create their own sperm and eggs and join them to have a child. There are lots of lesbian and gay couples who would be very excited about the possibility for the first time of being able to have children who are genetically their own.

Such a breakthrough could also help women who have passed their childbearing years or who are infertile for medical reasons. It raises some questions, though, about the ethics of the procedure, scientists said. For instance, could prospective parents create a child with certain desired traits, and would it be morally acceptable for them to do so?

“It’s like any other technology,” said Daniel Sulmasy, a professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Chicago. “Whatever we’ve done in humankind — whether it’s discovering fire or creating the wheel — you can use these things to do lots of good and you can use them immoral ways.”

The Kyoto University study was published in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

[Source: Original Article]

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