Advanced research explores the possibility of using a new technique for human reproduction and its ethical and practical implications. The method can create the possibility of same-sex couples having children biologically related to both partners. In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) is the method, most advanced in mice, by which gametes are derived from pluripotent stem cells or embryonic stem cells.
IVG in humans could potentially allow for never-before used methods of procreation. Research suggests that while not yet advanced enough on human cells, IVG for reproduction may one day be possible in humans. Several groups of people could potentially use IVG for reproduction like those who cannot- conceive for physical reasons, same-sex couples, postmenopausal women or premenarche girls and groups of more than two - multiplex parenting. What distinguishes IVG from current reproductive technologies (ART) is that it would allow such couples to have biologically related children without using gamete donors. For example, a gamete of the opposite sex could be derived from an individual's cells. This, in combination with a naturally derived gamete from the other member of the couple, could be used to produce an embryo. Despite concerns over the risks and the fact that the technology is still a way off, professor says that in many ways, IVG may be just another way to have a baby.
Safety is a key aspect of stem cell research - this aspect is more important than ever when addressing the potential for same-sex reproduction. When cells are triggered into change, there is the possibility that they grow uncontrolled and are more likely to lead to cancer. The enormity of the cell modification that occurs to create female sperm is also of concern, especially with regards to any chromosomal abnormalities or problems that can occur through the use of artificial chromosomes.
Unfortunately, the pathway to realistically providing the techniques to support same-sex reproduction is a complicated one in terms of political, religious and ethical controversy. Most conservative religious groups are strongly opposed to same-sex relationships, so it follows without surprise that they are against same-sex reproduction. This means that even if same-sex reproduction becomes a successful reality, there are still numerous hurdles to overcome before the techniques can actually be put into practice.