Asked Jul 11, 2012, 09:53 PM
I have actually been looking into cloning, gene splicing, and parthenogenesis for hypothetical reproduction in humans, specifically for the production of offspring in unusual situations, such as a child born to same-sex parents or conseved after the loss of one parent. I am looking at these aspects based on scientific data, not religious or mythological stories. I have done as much research as I can with such limited resources and am curious to see if anyone might have more knoledge on the subject. I remember reading a published article which briefly recounted the case of a woman who gave birth despite clames of being a virgin. A DNA test concluded that the child was an exact genetic copy of the woman herself, and it was suspected that the stress caused by war in her hometown actually caused an egg cell to begin replicate itself. However, I cannot seem to find this article now. I believe I can find the reference book it was taken from, but I cannot access it now. I have also found cases of parthenogenesis being artificially induced in mammals, although it is not known to naturally occure in any mammalian species. What I'm trying to figure out is why it has never been tested for long-term development in humans. Parthenogenesis is already used in human subjects to produce short-term devopement, such as embryos for experimenation and production of stem cells; so, we know that it can be done in humans. We have also seen other mammals, such as rabbits and mice, be subjected to Parthenogenesis with successful results. Scientists are even quoted as saying that some of the mice produced by parthenogenesis had longer life expectancy than their naturally produced counterparts. The only explainations I can find for the reluctance to test the possibility of long-term fetal development from parthenogenesis on humans are as follows: 1) adverse effects have been found in pigs (reportedly. Almost every site I've found has quoted that human testing has never occurred due to higher than average occurrences of abortion of fetus, defects in the placental folding, and/or interdigitation [abnormal fusing of body parts during development]. However, I cannot find the recorded case for this, and have found successful cases of parthenogenesis in swine, and research on how to increase the success rate in this perticular situation). It has also been noted that there are some developmental defects in mice and monkeys produced through parthenogenesis, but they do not occur in every case. These do not strike me as legidimate reasons not to at least test the subject. Birth defects and misscarrages occur even in cases which the fetus resulted from traditional insemination, and anyone who agreed to the prosedure should have been fully informed that it is still in testing stages and may not be successful (in the case of a loss of fetus). And 2) the controversy surrounding the production of human life by artificially means. This is the same controversy that has caused the outlawing of reproductive cloning in humans. If we were, however, going to ban artificially produced human life we would also have to ban IVF, surrogacy, egg and sperm donation, and third party reproduction. This technology could, in theory, be used to produce children for same-sex couples that would genetically belong to both parents, giving them both rights the child by parentage and avoiding legal complication that may arise from adoption, surrogacy, and egg or sperm donation (such as surrogate mothers or genetic parents deciding they want to keep the child at the last minute, sperm/egg donors trying to sue for rights to the child, or the rights of the partner of the genetic parent to remain a gardian should something happen to the parent who the child is related to). This fact in and of itself could also cause controversy over the subject; people who believe that homosexuality is wrong or goes against nature or religion may be aposed to this procedure. However, these are the same people who would want the ban the rights of homosexual people to marry or adopt children as well, things which are considered human rights, albeit controversial as well. Techically a law against these SHOULD be considered unconstitutional, as "all men [and women] are created equal", an implication that all citizens should be given equal rights, and as such homosexual citizens should not legally be denied rights given to heterosexual citizens, such as rights to job oportunities, housing, marriage, adoption, and help producing children, and that religion should not be allowed to play a role in politics and the creation of laws out of respect to citizen's right to practice their own religion.
So, having covered all of this, my questions are: 1) why have we not explored this possibility? 2) can anyone give me more information or help me cite the two articles I previously stated I could not myself find? 3) if you do have more knoledge on the subject, what would be the exact method used? I have found simplified explainations, but I would truly like to find out exactly how this process works and how it could be done in a experimental setting. And 4) is anyone else interested in this experiment or of the prospect of children produced in this manner?
Any and all information on the subject not already stated here would be much apriciated. Thank you.