My two dads may soon be a genetic reality. Scientists have discovered how to create a baby with the DNA of two fathers without the need for a donated egg.
Remember this name: Professor Mitinori Saitou. If you are a gay couple who would like to have a baby that would have your eyes and your partners smile, you are going to want to thank him. Mitinori, an adjunct professor in Mammalian Germ Cell Biology, led a team of scientists at Kyoto University’s Institute for the Integrated Cell-Material Sciences to successfully create a mouse egg – no female required. The team then fertilized the egg with sperm they also created from stem cells, and were able to produce a litter of healthy mice.
What this means for gay couples everywhere is that both fathers will now be able to contribute DNA to their child and no donated egg will be required. Infertility specialists will soon be able to take the skin cells of one father, extract what scientists call induced pluripotent stem cells, and create a human egg that contains only his DNA. The egg would then be fertilized in vitro with the sperm of the other dad and implanted in a surrogate. (Yes, a borrowed womb would still be necessary, but can that discovery be long in coming?) Although, there is no report of such an experiment being undertaken to date, presumably lesbian couples could also use the discovery to both become DNA donors to a baby, with one woman donating an egg and using the other mother’s stem cells to make sperm.
The announcement of the creation of both eggs and sperm from stem cells comes just in time to be presented at the World Stem Cell Summit, which will be held in West Palm Beach, Florida, December 3-5. Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences is one of the organizers for this year’s event, which is the largest stem cell conference in the word. No doubt Professor Mitinori’s presentation will shake up the landscape in both the infertility and cloning sciences, but nowhere is the news more of a game changer than in the gay community. Thanks to Professor Mitinori, gay couples can now look forward to a day they can have their own genetic children.
It truly is a brave new world.
Baby Image from freedigitalphotos.net
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