Have you noticed that we develop new biotechnologies these days for health issues, but they mostly become used for lifestyle facilitation? That’s what will happen if research in mice–that turned skin cells into both sperm and eggs and later used to create live mouse births, finds human application. From the Nature story:
To prove that these laboratory-grown versions were truly similar to naturally occurring PGCs, he used them to create eggs, then used those eggs to create live mice. He calls the live births a mere ’side effect’ of the research, but that bench experiment became much more, because it raised the prospect of creating fertilizable eggs from the skin cells of infertile women. And it also suggested that men’s skin cells could be used to create eggs, and that sperm could be generated from women’s cells. (Indeed, after the research was published, the editor of a gay and lesbian magazine e-mailed Hayashi for more information.)
I recall chuckling over the odious views of Joseph Fletcher, who predicted in his last book that someday we would do a uterus transplant into a man so he could gestate and give birth through caesarian section. Maybe not that–but something similar seems to be coming this way:
Their method now allows researchers to create unlimited PGCs, which were previously difficult to obtain, and this regular supply of treasured cells has helped to drive the study of mammalian reproduction. But as they push forward with the scientifically challenging transition from mice to monkeys and humans, they are setting the course for the future of infertility treatments — and perhaps even bolder experiments in reproduction. Scientists and the public are just starting to grapple with the associated ethical issues.
Ethics? Not in this day of utter entitlement and anything goes. If it can be done in humans, we will see everything from male mothers to female fathers and cloning–or making parents–from the cells of the dead.
My question: How will society stay “society” if there are zero norms except “zero norms?”