Scientists Create Human Sperm from Stem Cells

While I don’t always agree with John Howard’s reasons for opposing human genetic engineering, I do abhor the practice.  According to, scientists have created sperm from adult stem cells.

Women who say they don’t need a man may well be right – after human sperm was created in the lab.

The breakthrough could give hope to infertile couples and men left unable to have children after having cancer treatment.

The article goes on to say that the sperm created through the process is not fully functional yet.

‘It could also allow men who are currently infertile the chance to have a child which is genetically their own but this will be many years away – at least a decade.’

There is more from the AP that you can read on

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

  • This ethical/moral discussion has been happening since the DNA molecule was discovered and described in the 50’s.

    Can we create life ?  Can we modify life, or breed out disease, malady’s?  Should we try to clone a human?  Sounds like the makings of a medical ethical super discussion before someone gets the bright idea of starting a race of human non-humans.  Stalin was interested in creating a race of half-ape half-human warriors.  Sounds far fetched, but it isn’t really when you get to the fundamental issues.  The unfortunate part is usually policy only follows actions that someone finds unacceptable.

    For all the potential good it can do, the down-side will be enormous without enforceable policy.  Think about how that would change the family dynamic if it became widely accepted and adopted.  Like that dynamic doesn’t face it’s own challenges already.

  • cloning humans to harvest the parts.

    Booga booga….h+

  • Republican Ram Rod Radio
  • Firstly, I’m actually not opposed in principle to a safe medical procedure to create replacement unmodified sperm or eggs for infertile people, though I do think it is a luxury we’d be foolish to waste resources on, and we are not morally obligated to develop it, and testing it would be ethically problematic to the extent that it would be practically infeasible.  But in principle, I consider it medicine and do not oppose medicine.  I’m only opposed in principle to creating people from modified genes, which includes same-sex conception.  That first sentence you quoted in the article is a different concept than the second sentence, and the article muddies the issue by conflating them as if they were the same thing.

    I’m not sure what you think my reasons for opposing genetic engineering are, Eabo, or where you think you disagree.  It’d be useful to explain.  So, with that in mind, here are my reasons for opposing genetic engineering of human people:

    1) to preserve equality in how people are created, so that we don’t lose the basis of our democracy, and our nation, and our rights.  Genetic engineering will lead people to think of people as genetic code, highlighting differences and deficincies, rather than as equals, as children of a mother and father like we all are.  If GM people actually were created, they would be seen as creations of scientists rather than as children of parents, and non-GM people might be seen as deficient eventually.  It doesn’t even have to be done for belief in equality to be undermined, it is undermined merely by GE being legal and remaining a looming possibility in the future.  Only prohibiting it affirms equality.

    2) to preserve individual reproduction rights.  This is similar to the loss of equality described above, but applies to the rights of adults already here.  If we continue to talk about genetic engineering as a legitimate future and how it might be good to “eradicate diseases”, etc, it undermines how people feel about the right to use their own genes to have children, coercing people to use screened gametes selected from catalogs.  Like (1), this eugenics happens already, because genetic engineering is not prohibited.  (Prohibiting GE wouldn’t end the eugenic pressure or the practice of gamete substitution, but it would reverse the trend, by affirming the right to use our own unmodified genes).  As with (1), only prohibiting it would affirm individual conception rights.  And of course if it does actually start to happen, then we’d move even faster toward believing that people were obligated to take advantage of it and the loss of natural reproduction rights.

    3) to allocate resources ethically.  Genetic engineering of people is unsustainable and environmentally unjustifiable.  Not only would the development of GE have a huge carbon footprint, but that energy and those researchers are diverted from working on actual medicine for existing people.

    4) to reach accord with other nations that feel threatened by the US pursuing genetic engineering.  Most other nations have banned cloning and signed a UN treaty, and recognize the intrinsic evil of eugenics, but the US continues to antagonize and ignore other nation’s concerns.  I don’t see how terrorism will ever abate as long as the US is seen as pursuing genetic engineering and same-sex conception, and I do see a ban on GE and same-sex conception (and with it, SSM) as a catalyst for lifting of fatwas and ending terrorism and anti-US hatred.

    5) to provide an opportunity to extend equal protections to same-sex couples in the form of Civil Unions in all 50 states and the federal government, by creating a constitutional distinction between the rights of a man and a woman and the rights of same-sex couples.  People often overlook the positive opportunities that would follow from a ban on genetic engineering, assuming that a ban would only prevent things in the future and leave the status quo as is.  But they forget that GE is legal, and so leaving it legal would preserve the status quo, whereas enacting a ban would be the radical change in the status quo and allow for all sorts of new attitudes and priorities.  I think it’d usher in a new age of getting-down-to-it real responsibility and caring for each other, and end the lazy feeling of inevitability and reliance on science and technology that fosters callousness and selfishness.

  • benwetmore

    How twisted it is that we want to ‘create’ life in a laboratory but yet go out of our way to protect the ‘right’ to destroy life so willingly and wantonly in 45 different abortion providers around the state.

    We suffer through 27,270 abortions in Massachusetts every year, but ‘science’ proclaims it as progress when it manufacturers sperm.  Why are we creating babies when we end up killing so many?  What does it say about our culture, society and US when this is going on?

    We have become the type of people who dislike children, which is a way of saying we dislike who we are – we were all once young, loud, dirty and yet how many people want more children?  We control our children, we plan our lives and ‘plan’ parenthood.  

    This is madness.  

    Get married, have children, don’t use contraception, let life happen, enjoy the surprises, live not through your material things but through your immortal relationships.

    More children, more families, more sacrifices, more meaning.