Gay couples could soon have their own biological children carrying traits from both parents
According to new research, a reproductive technique may soon be available which uses sperm from two fathers, or eggs from two mothers, to create children related to them both.
This breakthrough could also lead to ‘multiplex parenting’ with groups of children created by just one parent.
IVG (in vitro gametogenesis) sees sperm from the male and eggs from the female, derived from stem cells.
The practice is advanced in mice and new studies suggest it may one day be possible for humans.
At the moment, egg donation and surrogacy allow two gay people to have children genetically related to only one partner. IVG would allow same-sex couples to bypass donors.
For example, sperm or eggs of the opposite sex could be derived from an individual’s cells.
This in combination with a naturally derived sex cell from the other member of the couple could be used to produce an embryo.
Prof Suter, of George Washington University in the US, said: “With IVG, same-sex couples may be able to have children who are biologically related to both of them. In addition, IVG could facilitate ‘multiplex’ parenting, where groups of more than two individuals (whether all male, all female, or a combination) procreate together, producing children who are the genetic progeny of them all.
“And finally, single individuals may be able to procreate without the genetic contribution of another individual, what I refer to as ‘solo IVG’.
“IVG also presents the possibility of ‘perfecting reproduction’, by greatly improving the ability to screen for undesirable diseases or even traits,” he added.
However Prof Suter did recognise that, “the ethical dilemmas about when and how such research should be done will be enormously challenging”.
As well as same-sex couples several other groups could benefit including those who cannot conceive for physical reasons and post-menopausal women.
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