Written by Ivey Ingalls-Rubin, Staff Writer
In the circumstance where two males desire to raise a child together, there are two options. Option A: they must adopt, where neither of the parents will share genetic material with the child. Option B: they could use an egg donor and surrogate, where only one of the individuals will technically be a biological contributor. In the near future, however, these two options might just be given one more alternative.
In a new paper published by Cell divulges on the current role of genetic regulators which play a major role in whether an immature germ cell differentiates in to a male or a female cell. As well as how these scientists are learning to influence and manipulate that process. In the future, it’s promising that stem cells from a male could be used to produce an egg, thus allowing an infant to have two biological fathers.
Primordial germ cells, or PGCs, are stem cells that have the capability to either develop into sperm or egg cells. The human body usually signals these pre-cells through hormones with certain transcriptions that ultimately determine the sex of the cells naturally.
It is possible that in the years to follow, researchers will be able to manipulate this complex process making it possible for two men to conceive a child completely of their own making. This could take place by taking PGCs from one father and manipulating another PGC-like gene called S0X17. Research suggests that the gene S0X17 is an essential component in the process of “reprogramming” human cells.
These manipulated cells would then be induced so they became oocytes. This is because the male has all the relevant material in his solo X chromosome, that the resulting egg cell would theoretically be completely functional.
The second father would need to then provide the sperm for which the egg could be inseminated by, after this procedure the partners would require a surrogate to carry the baby throughout gestation.
Needless to say there is an enormous amount of red tape surrounding this topic from ethical to logistical concerns that must be solved before this truly becomes a reality. Human genetic modification to this extent has fallen in to quite the gray area, with many whom are appalled by the notion of “designer babies.”
Though it is unfortunate, on top of these concerns lies another blockade. Those individuals with prejudices against homosexual partners would hinder the research, development and implementation of this technology.
As one can see there is much more work to be done and data to be poured through before the time comes where two same sex people can have the opportunity of raising a youth together.
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