Now you and your bro can can go half on a baby girl.
When two men love each other very much, sometimes they wrestle naked. But for the entirety of history, this process has been free of children, making it hard for a bro and his bro to have a child together. Sure, there are female surrogates and egg donors to help out, but in either case, the bros either have no biological contribution, or only one of them will, a sad state of affairs in which no two men can truly be the double fathers of a bouncing baby person.
Those days, however, are about to be over.
A new paper published in Cell has found that the process of immature germ cell differentiation can be manipulated so that male stem cells could be used to produce an egg. This male egg could then be combined with a male sperm via in vitro fertilization to create a baby with two very scientifically advanced dads.
Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the stem cells we're talking about here; at a certain phase in their development, they are able to give rise to either sperm or egg cells depending on the hormone signals and transcription factors the body gives them. However, researchers found a way to manipulate that process by making a few changes to the SOX17 gene, which in turn can alter the fate of the PGC. In doing this, PGCs can be programmed to be either little spermie or a little hard boiled egg.
PGCs would be isolated from male specimens and grown in test tubes, so at no point would the egg-giving male actually have eggs inside his throbbing male bod.
A surrogate would still be needed to carry out the pregnancy once the male sperm fertilizes the male egg, so the process isn't entirely No Girls Allowed. But once the baby was born, if everything went according to plan, it would be the genetic average of both male parents with no genetic contribution from the surrogate.
Well, nothing says "I love you, man" like contributing 23 chromosomes each to a wet test tube full of baby molecules that'll eventually grow into something you're legally obligated to care for for 18 years. It's about time more men were given a chance to experience that amount of baby vomit and pre-pubescent angst.
Ethically, male/male spawn presents a huge gray area as genetically modifying offspring to make "designer babies" could lead to a Gattaca-like society where people can pick and choose the physical and behavioral traits of their spawn. When this is done in the absence of disease, or purely for the purposes of procreation, it's hard to ethically justify subjecting people to new medical procedures that don't have risk precedents or known side effects. Futhermore, since the procedure has never been done, let alone in a statistically significant sample, it's impossible to saw how genetically modifying male PGCs would affect the offspring or their ability to reproduce normally. Needless to say, two-dad babies are a long way away, but they're very scientifically possible.
On the bright side, think about the level this would take male-to-male betting. You know how guys are always betting each other that they can smoke each other's semen or jump off roofs into ice ponds? Well, those things are all temporary. Imagine if Jim bet Greg that he could get Samantha's number, but if he didn't, then Greg would have to have a kid with Jim.
The possibilities are limitless, just like that Bradley Cooper film. Speaking of Bradley Cooper, wouldn't he make the best father? So rich, that one …