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Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
My two dads: Has science gone too far?

Male couples could conceive their own children using the genetic techniques pioneered on Dolly the sheep.

Leading scientist Dr Calum MacKellar, said future scientific advances could result in a gay couple using their own DNA to conceive.

A surrogate mother would still be needed to gestate and give birth to the child.

Do you think this latest development is an exciting way to revolutionise how we reproduce? Or should scientists not interfere with nature and pay more attention to ethical issues?

Here are your comments:


Adoption is open to those who feel the need and takes just as much commitment as having your own

Mike H, Bristol, England
Pandora's Box was opened years ago. Ever since we started using man-made pharmaceuticals to cure our ills we have been going against nature. Most of us would not live as long as we do were it not for medical/ scientific advances. At what point do you say we have gone far enough? As an asthma sufferer I am probably living on borrowed time. Quite possibly as a hypocrite, I think that giving people (straight or gay) the opportunity to have kids they are biologically incapable of creating the natural way is wrong. Adoption is open to those who feel the need and takes just as much commitment as having your own.
Mike H, Bristol, England

I think the whole issue is perverse. The reason that two males cannot have a child between them has been designed in the process of evolution and is therefore not natural. If this carries on there will be mass confusion.
Matt, UK


Children are becoming a commodity, much like buying a car

Kevin Kirby, USA
My (gay) partner of nine years and I are raising a two-year old whom we adopted at six months. It saddens me to think that this kind of technology could possibly prevent a currently existing child from being adopted into a loving, stable, two-parent home. There are children's homes full of un-adoptable children because emerging technology now allows both straight and gay couples to create their own genetically related offspring at the expense of those kids already existing. That's selfish any way you cut it. Children are becoming a commodity, much like buying a car.
Kevin Kirby, USA

The question is NOT whether it is right for gay couples to have children. How can anyone answer that question? Nature doesn't 'decide' anything, things evolve. The simple fact is that if we let this become more than an intellectual exercise, we could release untold destruction on our own society.
Lee Williams, UK

This proves to me that humans can't distinguish between right and wrong anymore. Truth has been trampled underfoot and children are sacrificed on the altar of perversion and lust.
Steve Mimmack, Manchester


There is a different bond between a child and its mother and a child and its father

Alex Birkett, England
The science is exciting but imagine growing up knowing that you "never" had a mother. There is a different bond between a child and its mother and a child and its father. I would not like to have two of one and none of the other.
Alex Birkett, England

If there was a ban on patents, profit making, etc resulting from this research then I'm sure the question wouldn't even arise. All these scientists are doing is trying to find more obscene ways of making money.
Gary Dale, England

I have read the reports and listened to the interviews on the radio, but no-one has given a reason "Why". The old fashioned method of conception is proven, functional and above all else fun!
Laurence, UK

What if a gay couple separate - who has the child? Who then is legally responsible? Even if a father deserts the child then the natural Mother who gave birth and has the most purely natural and strongest of bonds with the child will always be there for that child, come hell or high water.
Steve Bowman, England


The real question is do we want genetically modified humans?

Pete B, UK
The thing that worries me most is what happens if something goes wrong and the genetic code is unstable? I keep thinking of the hundreds of people affected by thalidomide. As for the gay angle, that is a total irrelevance. Anybody using that as an argument is just showing their ignorance. The real question is do we want genetically modified humans?
Pete B, UK

I don't understand people who argue that genetic engineering should not be carried out on humans because it's not natural and could be a Pandora's Box of troubles. I think that if GE can improve humanity then let's do it. If Pandora's Box is opened, well that's a risk we take. Nature will correct any mistakes we make. Nature's corrections are not always pretty, but humanity will survive.
Anna, USA

Could two women use this technique? Would they always have female offspring because they would each furnish an X chromosome?
Stan Bumpas, USA

We're missing the point. This is not about Gays being 'allowed' to have children (they should). It's about how the children are created. Rightly or wrongly this is seriously messing with the boundaries of nature. But on the whole it is totally pointless - there are plenty of children needing adoption that we should consider first.
WGS, UK

From my basic perspective, it is all very well to test this process on animals where anatomical differences between this and the normal process of sexual reproduction may not be evident.
Gareth, UK


Stick to painting on cave-walls mate, we don't need you in this century

Jose Fernandez, Netherlands
To Neil from the UK; My two uncles (sounds like a TV-sitcom) have been together for 38 years now, have their ups and downs of course, but stick it out together. Saying that gay-relationships can't last longer than 25 years is basically short-sighted, and frankly somewhat retarded. Stick to painting on cave-walls mate, we don't need you in this century.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands

Heterosexuals can have children by accident, homosexuals can't. Considering the undertaking you could never say our kids lives weren't planned for.
Steven S., USA

My lover of 26 years and I just met an 18 year old gay man who makes our lives complete. The three of us are a family. We respond, co-operate, dine, do chores and converse together as much and as well as would please any family. Had we been able to have a child 18 years ago, would we be happier? Well, those years wouldn't have been so hollow, so lacking, so aching, for although we have loved each other dearly, our hearts, we now know, longed for the fulfilment of being a family. We pray this research continues, and God bless.
Ron, New Mexico USA

I think going to the Dolly way is nothing but a Rubbish idea. Let's live the natural life. Produce the child in natural way.
Ishwar Raj Pandeya, Nepal


While I forbear to comment on the merits of either point of view, I would not envy the child dropped into the political firestorm

Matt M, USA
I doubt seriously that such a development will significantly alter humanity as we know it. The actual process would be fantastically expensive. Available to only a very few in the world's richest nations. What it would do is be a point in the contention between various religious groups and the world's gay and lesbian population. While I forbear to comment on the merits of either point of view, I would not envy the child dropped into the political firestorm.
Matt M, USA

This sounds like a huge waste of resources that could be better directed to saving lives, perhaps finding a cure for aids, cancer etc. I don't have a problem with gay couples having children but by surrogacy or adoption, not this.
Susan Diemar, Australia

Aren't there enough people in the world as it is, without scientists devising new ways for elderly women to have babies, and now even for men to have babies. As someone on this board said earlier, haven't these people ever heard of adoption? This sort of science is truly mad.
Tara, USA


Heart and lung transplants don't happen in nature, and yet they are accepted

Simon, England
Saying that this doesn't happen in nature, and therefore shouldn't be allowed is a stupid argument. Heart and lung transplants, and every other kind of life saving operation don't happen in nature, and yet they are accepted. People should concentrate on the real issues, like whether two men could successfully raise a child, rather than spitting out this knee-jerk, anti-gay, "not natural" nonsense, because it simply isn't relevant.
Simon, England

I am not prejudice to gays (in fact I have many gay & lesbian friends), however I totally disagree with the idea of cloning for the benefit of gay couples. If nature intended men to produce children without a woman's egg, then God would have given men sperm AND eggs. Unfortunately this is a disadvantage of being gay, in that they cannot produce children without the help of a woman...but that's the way they choose to be and something they will have to live with.
Natalie, UK

I am 100% behind anything that can help anyone who dearly wants to have the opportunity to create a child of their own. It infuriates me when I hear the so called 'moral majority' of people saying that they think that nature didn't intend for two people of the same sex to reproduce. Who do you think you people are??
Teenage pregnancies that aren't even planned make my blood boil. When I hear that people get pregnant without any consideration at all and it's still deemed acceptable in the end as they are 'heterosexual', whereas a gay couple who have genuine love and care to give to a child are dismissed as perverted and evil. Get off your moral high ground, take stock of your own lives and then cast judgement against us ... somehow I feel that there wouldn't be many of you screaming then.
Chris, UK


These are human lives not fashion accessories

Robert, UK
I agree that the science world has gone mad. Being able to create children by this method is going totally beyond nature. These are human lives not fashion accessories. There again I don't believe in IVF either, Nature decided that the relevant parties were not to have offspring for a good reason, whatever it is.
Robert, UK

It's a wonderful thing that this can be made possible, but the moral and social issues must be addressed first. The child could become very confused if both parents are the same sex. Socially I would not want to be one of those children because of social opinion. Kids at school have a bad time dealing with parents who split up let alone both the same sex.
Kevin Blackburn, UK

Neil, UK, who are you to judge if a gay relationship will last "25+ years"? Do you assume that because they are the same sex, they can't love each other? (I'm female heterosexual)
S, UK


If science can allow all good parents to conceive and raise children regardless of their sexuality, there will be more well cared for children in the world

Michael, UK
Being gay is not a choice, it is a state of being. There are undoubtedly many gay and straight couples who have the commitment and enthusiasm to raise children: if science can allow all good parents to conceive and raise children regardless of their sexuality, there will be more well cared for children in the world, which can only be good.
Michael, UK

I favour and support progress, but this cannot be right. These children will grow up as social misfits, with a very mixed up identity. Also, if they are born of two genetically gay fathers, will this not determine their own sexuality as gay?
Angela, England

Perhaps a stupid question but what happens when the child receives Y chromosomes from both male parents? Is a YY embryo viable and what sex would it be?
Rob Waterland, USA


It is dangerous to mess around with nature in this way, and we would be bound to get our comeuppance

Jenny, UK
Has anyone ever considered that gay people are nature's way of keeping check on an ever increasing population as they cannot reproduce? I think it is dangerous to mess around with nature in this way, and we would be bound to get our comeuppance if we did, and is it really necessary when there already so many unwanted children in the world. There are many children already being raised by gay parents.
Jenny, UK

I cannot understand the argument that IVF and other fertility treatments are acceptable but two men having a child is not. Women undergo IVF because nature has decided they should not be having children, but we help them. So saying that nature has decided two men cannot have offspring is an unacceptable argument.
I know of many gay relationships that are more stable and last longer than some heterosexual relationships which produced children and I do not believe the suitability of two men as parents should be an issue. As soon as people admit their fear of the new and different humanity can begin to progress a little.
Sarah, UK

I think the issue at hand here is the child. How would this affect them - how would you respond to knowing that you were a scientific creation?
Kath, UK


The suggestion that gay people "choose" their sexuality is both false and dangerous

Tom Dolphin, UK
I can't believe some of the comments people are putting up on this page. The suggestion that gay people "choose" their sexuality is both false and dangerous, and suggesting that those who can afford to should be prevented from having a child in a loving, long-term relationship because they both happen to be male is open bigotry.
The comment below that runs "Can you see a gay relationship lasting 25+ Years?" is blatant prejudice - I don't see that many straight relationships lasting that long these days. I have been with my boyfriend for two and a half years now - at 22 years of age, our relationship has been going on longer than any of my friends' straight relationships. Examine the facts and talk about the science and ethics, fine, but don't drag your prejudice into it or you risk highlighting your own ignorance and fear for the world to see.
Tom Dolphin, UK

This is a perfect example of why religion, generally is against science, and why people have no confidence in science or scientists. When will they learn that just because you can it doesn't mean you have to
Dennis, England


It's new, it's exciting, it grabs headlines and will secure funding for the research team involved

Chris Humphris, UK
It's new, it's exciting, it grabs headlines and will secure funding for the research team involved. It does not matter whether we want or need this medical this "advance" - it is here and someone will always have the cash and the ego to follow it through.
Chris Humphris, UK

If we use genetics to improve the quality of life and to help us evolve then I am behind science 100%.
This, however, is sick! Males are not meant to have children - we are not meant to be warped against nature and it takes a male and female of the species to conceive and raise a child. I have no problem with abortion, contraception and gay couples getting married but this sort of idea is an abomination.
Paul Charters, England

Perhaps it may be simpler just to allow gay couples to adopt?
Keith, UK


What next, dogs having cats?

Sonia Williams, UK
I'm beginning to think that science has gone mad and I truly hope that this idea is never made possible. What next, dogs having cats?
Sonia Williams, UK

What a great idea... until I saw that a woman would still need to be involved. I would love for men to have to take on 50% of pregnancies, but I guess that's still some way off.
Laura P, UK

This is not intended by nature and there is no way at all that this should ever be allowed to happen.
Dave, UK

We are entering into very dangerous territory here, in that very soon it could become the norm that a child would not expect to have both a mother and a father. We have absolutely no knowledge of the type of destruction that this could cause to the whole make up of society today, and its repercussions say 50-100 years down the line, could be devastating.
Imran, UK


Let people have GM babies - who cares?

Nick, UK
People should be allowed to exploit the advances in science in any way if they can prove they are not harming anybody or anything. I don't see what's wrong with interfering with nature - let people have GM babies - who cares? Are we going to feel second rate just because there are a bunch of designer people around who have "special" looks and intelligence? They're still going to be people with all the same problems as everyone else.
Nick, UK

I cannot believe this is even being contemplated. Nature decided a long time ago that to have a child you will need a male and a female to do so in a "natural" way. It is one thing helping childless couples with IVF, etc. However if your sexuality means that you might have to make a sacrifice, then so be it. It is nothing to do with being anti-gay.
Everyone to their own but I cannot help feeling that if we start interfering with nature, that there will be a very high prices to pay in the future. Nature has a way of doing that. Therefore if genetic engineering and cloning can help prevent disease and illness go for it, but not just to assist the shortcomings of chosen sexuality.
Bea Reynolds, UK


The discovery of DNA many years ago is our modern Pandora's box

Peter Richardson, UK
I have nothing against gay people but I have to confess against feeling uneasy about this. Do we really know what we are getting ourselves in to? Who knows what horrors we could unleash?
The discovery of DNA many years ago is our modern Pandora's box. Let's hope our toying with it is not the beginning of our collective downfall.
Peter Richardson, UK

Children need security and stability. A married couple is the only relation which stands a chance of giving this. Can you see a gay relationship lasting 25+ Years? A child is a gift provided by nature to a loving male and female couple. A child should not a fashion Accessory, in a short-term society.
Neil, UK


Will the offspring have to be labelled as "GM"?

Jamie McClure, UK
Haven't we learnt anything from the "Scientific Advances" that brought us BSE and AIDS. Are these people so selfish that they are prepared to compromise natural processes and endanger the health of an innocent life? If it is at all possible I don't doubt that it will eventually be done regardless of public opinion (or even law). Will the offspring have to be labelled as "GM"?
Jamie McClure, UK

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