Women might soon be able to produce sperm in a development that could allow lesbian couples to have their own biological daughters, according to a pioneering study published today.
Scientists are seeking ethical permission to produce synthetic sperm cells from a woman’s bone marrow tissue after showing that it possible to produce rudimentary sperm cells from male bone-marrow tissue.
The researchers said they had already produced early sperm cells from bone-marrow tissue taken from men. They believe the findings show that it may be possible to restore fertility to men who cannot naturally produce their own sperm.
But the results also raise the prospect of being able to take bone-marrow tissue from women and coaxing the stem cells within the female tissue to develop into sperm cells, said Professor Karim Nayernia of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. more at link
Making babies without men – a literary view after the jump
Making babies without men – a literary view
Aristophanes (c. 411BC)
After 21 years of war, the women of Athens, led by Lysistrata, take matters into their own hands. Lysistrata suggests every wife and mistress should refuse all sexual favours until peacetime. Before long it proves effective, peace is concluded and the play ends with festivities.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1914)
On the eve of the First World War, an isolated society entirely comprising Aryan women is discovered by three male explorers. The women reproduce asexually and live in an ideal society without war and domination. This feminist utopia is a 20th-century vehicle for Gilman’s then-unconventional views of male and female behaviour, motherhood, individuality, and sexuality. It is said to be based on Gilman’s version of utopia through Aryan separatism.
Philip Wylie (1978)
At four minutes and 52 seconds past four one afternoon, the world shatters into two parallel universes as men vanish from women and women from men. With families and loved ones separated from one another, life continues very differently as an explosion of violence sweeps one world while stability and peace break down in the other.
Doris Lessing (2007)
In her novel, which has made this year’s International Man Booker shortlist, Lessing portrays a group of near-amphibious women who have no need of men, known as Squirts, as they are impregnated by the wind, wave or moon. But this is no feminist utopia: the women behave brutally, mutilating male babies before placing them on a rock for eagles to devour. The eagles turn out to be the men’s allies, transporting the babies to the forest where they are suckled by does. Lessing reveals she was inspired by a scientific claim that “the primal human stock was probably female, and that males came along later, as a kind of cosmic afterthought”.