“You look just like your moms.”

Two of our best friends visited Meredith and me this past weekend. We are the kind of best friends that like to do things in tandem. We were engaged in the same year. We had our weddings 5 months apart. Even the age gap between our significant others is virtually equal. Meredith and Eric are both about 5 years younger than me and Alisa, which means Eric is also capable of saying hurtful things like,

“I’ve never seen an episode of ‘ALF.’”

Because we have lived the past few years of our lives in parallel, it seems only natural that Alisa and I get knocked up at the same time. We started having this conversation over the weekend as I shared my uncertainties about how to make the baby that will grow in my tum. It got a little philosophical for a minute as I mourned the physical setbacks Meredith and I face in making a family of our own. In part, I think we choose our mates based on procreation. Even if we weren’t interested in having kids, I would still want to spend the rest of my life with Meredith. But, because we do want little drooling, pooping critters running around, there’s a feeling of being short-changed. The kid I birth won’t share the same genetic make-up as my wife.

So as Alisa and I are talking, Eric is typing because he’s always on the computer. During one particularly long vacation they took, he watched an entire season of ‘The Wire.’ Impressive. I don’t think it’s rude or out-of-the-ordinary. Meredith spends most of her time on the computer too, and I find that they tend to know things about really obscure topics this way.

After a few minutes, Eric says, “Listen to this,” and starts reading from this article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3323846/Sperm-cells-created-from-female-embryo.html

It’s a little dated, published in 2008, and I’ve been unable to find any more recent articles on the subject. But, it’s exciting stuff. Creating life with the genetic make-up of two females has the probability of happening within my lifetime. I thought this was incredibly exciting as it could fling wide open the procreation possibilities of infertile men and lesbian couples. But, more than that I found it incredibly thoughtful that Eric cared to look up the information. Sweet science boy of wonder. Thanks, Eric. Now, go watch this:

4 comments

  1. Sisserwrobel · · Reply

    I don’t know if it is worth it to go through the pain, expense, law breaking, the probability of failure, and the possibility of freaky side effects just to be able to make a baby with giant ankles that can’t eat bread.
    You should also think about the poor heteros that don’t have a good reason to avoid their spouse’s genetic material. My kids will probably have brown eyes- gross.

  2. myblogject · · Reply

    I have very randomly stumbled on your blog. I was actually searching newcastle uni, where I went to study. Fell across this post, and really strangely I read that Telegraph article when it was published. I am gay and my GF and I will, one day a long way off, make a family. It’s interesting, although with so many already difficult things to overcome I think we will try and make the process as uncomplicated as possible!
    Like your blog. Very interesting reading about another gay couple!

  3. Actually, something rather strange has gone on with this paper.
    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090730/full/news.2009.753.html

    It was retracted due to plagarism, although the above article suggests that the supporting science was sound and Karim Nayernia has since left Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I’ve been trying to get hold of him for a little while to actually get a read of this damned thing, but the original research paper has been completely pulled from its published journal.

    This really does seem like one of the most promising lines of research open at the moment, but I find it rather strange how the man behind it just seems to have… vanished, along with all record of actual scientific evidence behind it.

    Maybe it’s just down the back of the couch or something – if anyone sees it, please let me know!

  4. Hello. I was just popping in because I needed to get this out somewhere and you seemed like you might also really be interested in what I have to say. I have a girlfriend that I’m very much in love with and I’m an FTM transman, so I’ve been looking up alternative methods of fertility treatment. I feel very strongly that our kids be ours, not only half ours. I’ve been finding a lot lately that’s truly fascinating and provides a lot of hope for same-sex couples or infertile couples in terms of conception.

    In reference to the article you linked above: This scientist in charge of this research, Karim Nayernia, has been experimenting for several years with making sperm from bone marrow cells. In 2007, sperm cells had been successfully created from male bone marrow, and he was applying for ethical permission to try the same with females. I read the application that was written, and while I don’t have the link immediately handy, I was impressed by his reasoning. The argument for Dr. Nayernia’s research was that in hopes of creating a method of conception for same-sex couples, the argument that these couples could not bear children would no longer be valid, allowing them more equal rights in several countries. In other words, he intended for his research to give same sex couples kids -and- equal rights. In 2008, they were working on maturing the new sperm cells and fertilizing eggs with them. The research was to take 3 to 5 years before becoming a reasonable option for potential fertility treatment. We’re not so far off that, now are we? It makes me sad to see so many nay-say-ers around, such as the one above, who see this as a sick idea that will cause outrageous deformation or whatever else. I encourage you to keep reading what’s available out there, because it’s hope-inspiring. Researchers in Australia are experimenting with creating a fetus from two eggs or two sperm, while other research centers are working at isolating chromosomes from several sources to create a fetus, such as a baby boy with the genetics of both mothers except for the one chromosome needed to make the fetus male. There are scientists making reproductive cells from just about any cell in the body. These studies have been going since the 90s, so take comfort in the fact that in a decade or less, you and your partner will probably be able to have a little boy or girl all your own.

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