[ExI] Female Sperm Male Eggs

Olga Bourlin fauxever at sprynet.com
Fri Feb 1 01:54:03 UTC 2008

Female sperm breakthrough:



February 01, 2008 12:15am

BRITISH scientists are ready to turn female bone marrow into sperm, cutting 
men out of the process of creating life.

The breakthrough paves the way for lesbian couples to have children 
biologically their own. Gay men could follow suit by using the technique to 
make eggs from male bone marrow.
Researchers at Newcastle upon Tyne University say their technique will help 
lead to new treatments for infertility. Critics warn it sidelines men and 
raises the prospect of babies born through entirely artificial means.

The research centres on stem cells - the body's "mother" cells, which can be 
turned into any other type of cell.

According to New Scientist magazine, the scientists want to take stem cells 
from a female donor's bone marrow and transform them into sperm through the 
use of chemicals and vitamins.

Newcastle professor Karim Nayernia has applied for permission to carry out 
the work and is ready to start the experiments within two months.

The biologist, who pioneered the technique with mice, believes early-stage 
"female sperm" could be produced inside two years. Mature sperm capable of 
fertilising eggs might take three more years.

Early-stage sperm have already been produced from male bone marrow. Taking 
stem cells from an adult donor - possibly a cancer patient - removes the 
ethical problems associated with using embryos.e race to find a cure for 
infertility is global.

Greg Aharonian, a U.S. analyst who is trying to patent the technologies 
behind female sperm and male eggs, said he wants to undermine the argument 
that heterosexual marriage is superior because it is aimed at procreation. 
"I'm a troublemaker," he said.

Researchers at the Butantan Institute in Brazil, meanwhile, claim to have 
turned embryonic stem cells from male mice into both sperm and eggs. They 
are now working on skin cells.

If their experiments succeed, the stage would be set for a gay man to donate 
skin cells that could be used to make eggs. These could then be fertilised 
by his partner's sperm and placed into the womb of a surrogate mother.

Irina Kerkis, a researcher at the Brazilian centre, said this development 
was possible but raised ethical questions.

Laboratory-grown sperm and eggs offer hope for those left infertile by 
radiotherapy treatment when they were young. The experiments also could 
provide an invaluable insight into dealing with infertility.

Scientists warn, however, that the research is still in its infancy and any 
treatment is still many years away.

There also are fears that children born from artificial eggs and sperm will 
suffer severe health problems. Children created from sperm from women would 
be able to have girls only - because the female sperm would lack the Y 
chromosome needed for boys.

Josephine Quintavalle, of the Comment on Reproductive Ethics campaign group, 
said: "We are looking at absurd solutions to very obscure situations and not 
addressing the main issue. Nobody is interested in looking at what is 
causing infertility - social reasons such as obesity, smoking and age."

``All these things would provide solutions which wouldn't grab the 
headlines, but a lot more people would get the response they want - which is 
to be able to have their own children.'

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute faith group, said the Newcastle 
project flies in the face of research showing that children do best when 
raised by a married mixed- sex couple.

"Children need male and female role models in their lives," he added. 'Yes, 
there are children raised by single parents through all sorts of 
circumstances, but when you are talking about deliberately creating children 
in that way, that is morally wrong.' Debra Matthews, a U.S. bioethicist, 
said: 'People want children and no one wants anyone else to tell them they 
can't have them.'

An update of Britain's ageing fertility laws is going through Parliament and 
is likely to allow the use of artificial sperm and eggs in IVF treatment - 
but only for heterosexual couples.

The Newcastle research also paves the way for a woman to grow her own sperm 
and use it to fertilise her natural eggs, creating a child to which she is 
both mother and father.

Similarly, a man could be both father and mother to a child created with his 
own sperm and a lab-grown egg. Such children would be at high risk of 
genetic abnormality.

- Daily Mail





More information about the extropy-chat mailing list