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Parthenogenesis: Do We Need Men Anymore?

Creating Children Without Men or Sperm

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It’s a theme as old as lesbian science fiction: A World without Men. The story is a familiar one, lesbians living together in an all-women utopia, loving, raising families and their own food. No men are needed, even in the creation of children. While once relegated to the world of fiction, the possibility of an all-female society may soon become a reality.

Scientists have created mice pups from two female mice. No male mice or sperm were involved. The offspring were all female. How did this happen and will humans soon have the option to create babies without men?

Parthenogenesis, or virgin birth, is defined as reproduction without fertilization. It occurs naturally in some plant and insect species. It does not occur naturally in mammals, but like many other procedures of our day, it can now occur with the assistance of scientists.

In April 2004, Japanese scientists announced they created the first mammal by combining the nucleus of one female’s egg with that of another. The female offspring survived to adulthood and now has babies of her own. They call her Kaguya, after a Japanese fairy tale.

Kaguya Has Two Mommies

While this is a scientific breakthrough, the process has not been perfected yet. It took 460 tries at growing embryos this way. And of the ten live mice born in the surviving mouse’s litter, she is the only one to survive to adulthood.

What does Parthenogenesis mean for lesbians?

Although lesbians are having children through artificial insemination, it is not yet possible for two women to produce offspring that comes from both of their genetic material. Is it possible this might become a reality in the future?

The procedure used by the Japanese scientists is currently unreliable, as it took 460 tries to conceive one mouse. It has not proven safe, or even possible for humans to reproduce through parthenogenesis. There is a possibility that, with further work and study, it could become an option available to women who seek the assistance of fertility clinics.

The process was more complicated than just combining genetic material from two mice. Essentially the scientists created a genetically modified mouse. Researchers are quick to say they do not know if this method can be applied to humans.

Sources: WebMd, BBC News

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