16th December, 2010
Now men may be able to make babies without women, through a technology that couldÂ for the first time allow same sex couples to have their own genetic children.
In a technology developed to help in preserving endangered species and improvingÂ livestock breeds, scientists have, for the first time, developed an offspring fromÂ two males.
In a way, this renders null and void, the arguments by anti-gay activists that onlyÂ opposite sexes lead to procreation. But not all will be lost to potential mothers asÂ a female will be required to carry the pregnancy to term.
Using cell technology, scientists in the US say it is also possible to develop anÂ offspring from one male, though this will need some time to refine.
A statement from the Society for the Study of Reproduction cites the report postedÂ online last Wednesday in the Journal Biology of Reproduction says the development isÂ a major step in advancing human assisted reproductive technology or test tubeÂ babies.
Currently same sex couples depend on adopting children or donated eggs from aÂ female, but this could dramatically change the equation.
The researchers manipulated cells from male mice and produced cells that wereÂ implanted into a surrogate female mouse.
The surrogate gave birth to males and females and when these babies grew, they matedÂ with normal mice.
â€œTheir offspring, both male and female, showed genetic contributions from the twoÂ fathers,â€ says the statement.
The technology could be important for beef breeders as it could upgrade or retainÂ high quality genetic strains without investing much in high maintenance females.
Last year, the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute and theÂ University of Nairobi succeeded in breeding Kenyaâ€™s first test-tube calf using aÂ technique called In Vitro Embryo Production (Ivep).
When commercialised, farmers can rent their best cows as donors and theirÂ lower-quality cows as surrogates.
The Texas team may be hitting back for men. Last year, British researchersÂ discovered a way of making an artificial sperm, which may allow women to make babiesÂ without men.
The technology which the Newcastle University researchers said could be perfected byÂ 2015 similarly used stem cells to attain the feat.
The researchers said the development will lead to new ways of assisting couplesÂ suffering from infertility so that they can have a child which is geneticallyÂ theirs.
Kenyaâ€™s pioneering doctor in test tube baby technology, Dr. Joshua Noreh wasÂ pessimistic that such technologies could become an everyday solution toÂ reproduction.
While this may offer an option, he had told the Nation, it could be difficult toÂ guarantee that babies done from such technologies were 100 per cent healthy or thatÂ they will not develop complications later in life.