March 25, 2023
Scientists Create Motherless Lab Mice, 'Could Pave the Way for Gay Men to Have Children'

Scientists have created mice with no biological mother by turning skin cells from a male mouse into an egg – potentially allowing gay male couples to have biological children, the lead researcher and media reporters suggest.

The experiment’s results were reported at the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the Francis Crick Institute in London, with The Times reporting that it could ultimately “pave the way for gay men to have children related to both parents.”

Overseen by Katsuhiko Hayashi of Japan’s Kyushu University, the experiment represents a significant advance on similar research conducted in 2018, which produced 12 mice derived solely from male parents who were born with breathing difficulties and did not survive for long.

This time, researchers attempted 600 implants, and produced just seven mice — but all seven appeared to grow up healthy and have children of their own.

“This is the first case of making robust mammal oocytes [egg cells] from male cells,” Hayashi said in London.

“Purely in terms of technology, it will be possible [in humans] even in 10 years,” the scientist said in comments quoted by The Guardian, adding that he did know whether male-derived eggs would “available for reproduction” — though he reportedly said he was in favour of men making use of the procedure provided it was proven safe.

“That is not a question just for the scientific programme, but also for [society],” he added.

Hayashi stressed that his main motivation for conducting the research was finding applications that could help women with serious infertility issues such as Turner syndrome, however.

For the time being, scientists have not been able to cut females entirely out of the reproduction equation, with a surrogate mother having to carry the all-male embryo.

This may not be the case forever, however, with many scientists experimenting with artificial wombs, and Israeli researchers saying they had successfully gestated “hundreds” of baby mice in such devices in 2021.

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