Finally, recent uncited sciencey breakthroughs have confirmed previous findings allowing the production of eggs and sperm from the stem cells of both men and women. For the past billion years our ancestors have been required to mate with males in order to reproduce, but that wasteful system has finally been corrected. Starting soon, clinical trials will be carried out in prestigious name-less research hospitals, allowing lesbian couples to have children they can both call their own. Women will soon be rejoicing around the world, as men are no longer needed!
Let the age of Fempires begin!
Luckily for us men, no recent breakthroughs have actually made this a possibility, yet. Researchers in Newcastle and Cambridge have taken the first steps in creating sperm and eggs from stem cells, but they are still quite a long way off making this a reality. But let’s just imagine this is real, and is about to create shockwaves throughout our societies, as it might in the not too distant future.
If you’re in a lesbian relationship and hoping to have kids, this is the perfect opportunity for you. You no longer need to decide who will be the biological parent, as now you can both be. You can even take it in turns acting as the mother or fertilizing the egg (with your very own female sperm), as your family grows.
The male sex is a puzzle that biologists have been mulling over for decades. They can’t directly produce offspring and reproduce – the currency of natural selection – so why on earth are there so many of them? Clearly with just a few males in a population of females the group could produce a great number of offspring – far more than a rival group with a 50:50 ratio of males to females. Yet the small number of selfish males would have such high reproductive success, that natural selection would favour an increase in males. It currently takes one male and one female to produce an offspring, so if either sex were greater in number, then individuals of the common sex would have a lower average reproductive output than the rare sex. Thus, an equal ratio would be restored by natural selection, as the rare sex would be favoured by selection.
But now things have changed. With the advent of stem-to-sperm (STS) capabilities we can allow women to produce healthy sperm cells, which can be used to impregnate the egg of another woman. No longer are we restricted by the iron grip of natural selection. No longer are costly men required.
A fantastic side effect of lesbian couples having their own children is that, with no Y chromosome involved, couples are guaranteed to have little baby girls. So perhaps it is only a matter of time before men become obsolete – their parasitic nature finally exposed for all to see, and their legacy finally coming to an end.
It is true that these breakthroughs also bring us new stem-to-egg (STE) capabilities, meaning gay male couples now also have the chance to bring up children to which they are both the biological parents. However, two men, each the legacy of a billion years of the exploitative sex, simply don’t have the required uterus for same-sex reproduction. No, gay couples require a woman to act as the surrogate mother, thus continuing the dependency men have had for eternity.
Now before we celebrate there is one thing we should still consider, and that is that many women are quite attracted to men. Unfortunate though this now is, it is a rather general, well-supported finding both scientifically and anecdotally. So although men are technically no longer needed for reproduction, this does not mean that women will immediately stop finding them attractive and mating with them. Looking forward, we will perhaps see competition occurring between the men of the world and the growing number of lesbians, for the affections of straight women. But the outcome is far too uncertain for speculation.
Another potential use of this technology would be cutting out a reproductive partner all together, as women could make their own sperm and use it to fertilize their own egg. This self-fertilization might sound like a great idea that would result in clones, twice as related to you as normal offspring, however there are a few problems. Firstly, clones have an identical genome to the ‘parent’ whereas this would be two random halves of the same genome. This means the chance of abnormalities due to inbreeding and harmful recessive alleles is dangerously high. Additionally, reproducing with one’s self, usually known as asexual reproduction, is detrimental because it severely limits the genetic variation of the resulting offspring. Sexual reproduction evolved as it maximizes genetic variation, such that diseases and parasites cannot become accustomed to a host’s genome and thus able to rapidly attack its offspring.
There is one final pitfall that we must consider. Take our perfect lesbian couple; let one fertilize the other’s egg and watch as the child develops over the next 9 months. Now here’s the problem. What if our sperm-wielding woman does a runner? She could move to the next town, attract another lesbian partner, impregnate her and then move on again! Outrageous you might say. But this woman would be doing rather well in the gene pool, and she would be taking advantage of her ability as the sperm-giver to make a very low investment in reproduction. What does this all mean? Well, in a world full of lesbians, some would probably shift to a fast, low investment strategy and the lesbi-man would be born. All of this goes to say that when it comes to sexual reproduction, even between members of the same sex, unequal initial investment in human reproduction cannot be overcome.
Newcastle: “Women may be able to grow own sperm” by Roger Highfield: The Telegraph (2007)
Cambridge: “Cell breakthrough to bring two-dad babies” by Lois Rogers: The Sunday Times (2015)