Lesbian babies?! That’s preposterous!…Or is it? A recent BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6547675.stm) said that researchers in a German study have managed to induce a small number of stem cells, taken from the bone marrow of male volunteers, to develop into something approaching spermatagonial cells, cells which are effectively immature sperm cells. The lead researcher, Professor Karim Nayernia, said he hopes his investigations will mean he might one day be able to treat young men rendered infertile by chemotherapy.
What this article doesn’t go into (not even briefly) is all the possibilities that this technology could theoretically open up. Like children being able to father their own children. Also – and far more likely – lesbians being able to make their own babies together. This would be a huge bonus for women, who would otherwise have to go through the arduous task of finding a sperm donor, or who want to spread their (figurative) seed without “popping one out” because they happened to watch the birthing video in 4th form science. This technology does not apply to men. Men can’t make their own babies (unless it also becomes possible to make egg cells) and even if that did happen, you’d still need to find someone or something with a uterus to carry the baby to term. But if you do manage to coerce/bribe a friend/stranger to do it, then hooray! You and your partner can raise a lovely child with both your DNA.
Women having babies together would mean that they would only give birth to females (because they have no Y chromosomes to pass on). Without the need for men to continue the human race, woman could, in theory, choose to veto their existence. Once all the men had been wiped out (it’d only take about 80 years, if we banded together now), we’d be living on a women only planet, which I imagine would involve less general warfare, and more group hair-braiding. The male sociological niche would be taken over by the really really butch women, and ftm trans people. The straight women who were too straight to get with the programme would probably be this society’s asexuals, so there’d be a lot more asexuals around. They’d probably feel like there was something missing all their lives, but wouldn’t figure out what it was. Personally, my heart goes out to them. Although I guess at that point, if we wanted more Y chromosomes, we could always extract them from some dead, preserved guy. Lord knows there’s dozens of them lying around.
For some bizarre reason, having a planet full of women could be deemed “offensive” by some people, but this is what happens when you take a hypothetical situation gets taken to its illogical conclusion. Back to reality, when you take into account the number of women who actually want to have babies, and then the number of women who don’t want to do it the “traditional way” (i.e. with other women), then that would make only a very slight increase (probably even a mathematically insignificant one) in the female population. But why would the men complain, anyway? Wouldn’t a higher ratio of women to men be a good thing? (More choice and less competition, idiots. Though it’s gotta suck for gay guys. But maybe the female influence could encourage more guys to be bi). I reckon there would probably be a public outcry over this. The “morality” of letting two women have babies would probably be a difficult concept for many people to accept, even though in principle it’s the same as an assisted fertility programme. I imagine the word “unnatural” would get tossed around a lot.
Probably by the same people who have pacemakers, take viagra, and drive their cars ten minutes to the diary.
The first few children to be born in this way would probably face social stigma from other children in the playground who had heard their parents talking, and just general social stigma all around. I suspect that as it would start to become more common (even though in reality it would probably happen in a very staggered way), there would be less stigma involved in being the “unnatural” and therefore “unholy” offspring of two (presumably) lesbians, by the time they grew older. Also, they may feel the lingering insecurity of a child who was conceived in a test tube. But there are other IV babies, and they could form support groups or something.
And now for my favourite quote from Blackadder:
Prince George: Oh, this is the stuff, eh? Christmas sherry and charades with honest manly fellows. I mean, for Heaven’s sake, what can I do with a girl that I can’t do with you, eh?
Edmund: I cannot conceive, Sir…
Oh Blackadder, you’ll be the death of us all.