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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Could two women use this technique? Would they always have female offspring because they would each furnish an X chromosome?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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??
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.
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)
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?
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?
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 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?
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
Chris Humphris, UK
If we use genetics to improve the quality of life and to help us evolve then I am behind science 100%.
Perhaps it may be simpler just to allow gay couples to adopt?
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.
This is not intended by nature and there is no way at all that this should ever be allowed to happen.
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.
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.
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.
Jamie McClure, UK
25 Sep 00 | Sci/Tech
Male-only conception 'highly speculative'
20 Sep 00 | Health
Stem cell advance fuels embryo debate
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