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Who's You Daddy? Who's Your OTHER Daddy?
May 2, 2003 10:03 AM   Subscribe

"Jody Has Two Daddies" -- The literal remix. Scientists are making egg cells now, raising the (eventual) possibility of one guy providing the genetic material to raise a crop of eggs, while the other guy provides the crop of sperm (no extra work necessary). Just add one surrogate mother and there you have it: Yet another fundamentalist nightmare, in cute infant "Adam and Steve" form.
posted by jscalzi (27 comments total)

 
the end of the article touches on the "making sperm" for lesbian couples deal. it'll be curious which one comes to fruition first.

holy shit this scares me. and it's interesting to note that two men can make boys and girls....but two women can only make girls.

a weird and scary sign, if i've ever seen one.

p.s. they're working on fake uteruses (uteri???) too, so it might soon be just as likely to have no-girls needed as no-boys. ug this sucks.
posted by taumeson at 10:29 AM on May 2, 2003


Say it with me now ... we're gonna have a gay-by boom.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:46 AM on May 2, 2003


"That scenario raises difficult questions, including whether the second man would be recognized as the child's biological mother. "

Father: John Smith
Mother: Other Father: Jim Johnson

Damn, that was tricky.
posted by vraxoin at 10:55 AM on May 2, 2003


You know it principle this sounds great. I've got no hang ups about the sex (gender) of the people that raise babies as long as the kids are raised with love, etc.

But, I can't help but think all this energy and money could better be spent helping the already born and unwanted kids in the world instead of making more custom versions.
posted by Red58 at 10:56 AM on May 2, 2003


taumeson: What's so scary about that prospect?
posted by azazello at 10:58 AM on May 2, 2003


Does this mean that if I donate the sperm that will become the egg, and the sperm that will fertilize that egg, I can become my own father?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:08 AM on May 2, 2003


I think that my head is about to explode.

Okay, so here are my thoughts on this, and keep in mind they haven't been tempered by much time or any exposure to the people involved.

1) I think that people have a right not to be born under such bizarre circumstances ("You see, your father/mother and I loved each other very much, so we tinkered with genetic material to produce something - YOU! - that reflected our feelings for each other!") I'm not trying to say that homosexuality is akin to incest, so don't go pointing that finger at me. I feel the same way about cloning.

2) I firmly believe that children need a role model of both sexes, and siblings (one of the opposite sex, preferably, but any will do) to temper their view of the world and intergender relations. Lesbians raising a boy sets off danger signs in my mind. Why? Because boys turn into men, whether we like it or not, and they need men to show them how to do it (many men fail at this task... too sad.) This technology seems to limit that possibility, so let us address the converse case, two men raising a girl, neither of them sure how to relate to her, neither of them having been through the inner turmoil a girl can face.

Temper this with my belief that everyone can do as they wish as long as it does not interfere with someone else's ability to do the same; these men, in theory, won't be hurting anybody, but the situation described here involves an unpollable third party: the baby about to be born.

I mean, really. Men and women can't have babies without each other. There are many babies available for adoption (ie: marrying a solution with a problem). Can't we just leave it?
posted by jon_kill at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2003


There are many babies available for adoption (ie: marrying a solution with a problem).

Many (most?) states won't allow same sex couples to adopt. I don't know how this maps outside the US though. Even hetero couples that want to adopt apparently run into large (perhaps unreasonable) barriers as I understand it.

I agree with you on role models ideally (for physiological reasons if nothing else), but single parents must have some successful strategy for dealing with opposite sex children at this point. Or is every kid from a single parent household maladjusted?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:25 AM on May 2, 2003


"That scenario raises difficult questions, including whether the second man would be recognized as the child's biological mother. "

Don't forget the surrogate mom. She might decide, while carrying the child, to keep it. What an interesting legal battle that would be.

WolfDaddy: Hilarious!
posted by jsonic at 11:37 AM on May 2, 2003


it's interesting to note that two men can make boys and girls....but two women can only make girls.

The Y chromosome has to come from somewhere, and for now it only comes from males (maybe they'll be able to hack one out of an X someday). It's always the father who determines the sex of the baby, the mother contributes an X, the father either contributes an X (for a girl), or a Y (for a boy).

I think this is great. A "traditional family" isn't the only way for a kid to have good influences from both genders, role models don't have to be parents.
posted by biscotti at 11:38 AM on May 2, 2003


Or is every kid from a single parent household maladjusted?

Typically, yes, but I realize this situation can't be helped in most cases. The genetic tampering described in the article can be.
posted by jon_kill at 11:44 AM on May 2, 2003


We have discussed the gay parenting thing quite a bit here already. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin...
posted by pomegranate at 11:44 AM on May 2, 2003


Okay, so here are my thoughts on this, and keep in mind they haven't been tempered by much time or any exposure to the people involved.

jon_kill, then please refrain from commenting. You're saying that only a child who is not an only child and has both mother and father living under one roof will be emotionally/psychologically adjusted enough to make it in the real world.

I'm sad for your closed mind and your narrow view of gender roles.

You'd be helping your own argument if you could state exactly what it is that boys need to be shown to do that turns them into men that only a man can show them.
posted by archimago at 11:49 AM on May 2, 2003


jon_kill, then please refrain from commenting.

Seeing as this is a discussion of a concept which is presumably brand new, my opinion is as valid as any one elses. Don't discount the value of playing devil's advocate or voicing an opinion that is yet to be shaped. Too many people here don't want to hear dissenting views, and that is just kinda gross. You'll want to label me as a right wing conservative, but I can assure you, this isn't really the case.

You're saying that only a child who is not an only child and has both mother and father living under one roof will be emotionally/psychologically adjusted enough to make it in the real world.

I didn't say anything about making it in the real world. But, okay, all other things being equal, this is perhaps how a child will turn out best.

I'm really tired of these knee-jerk tolerance advocates running around with their hands in the air screaming "EVERYTHING IS OKAY! EVERYTHING IS OKAY! NOBODY QUESTION ANYBODY ELSE! EVERYTHING EVERYONE ELSE DOES IS JUST FINE!" Because some things just aren't as okay as others.
posted by jon_kill at 12:01 PM on May 2, 2003


You'll want to label me as a right wing conservative, but I can assure you, this isn't really the case.

That didn't come from me.

Seeing as this is a discussion of a concept which is presumably brand new, my opinion is as valid as any one elses.

You commented on the need for male and female role models in addition to siblings in the home to raise a well-adjusted child. There are not new concepts.
posted by archimago at 12:19 PM on May 2, 2003


this is perhaps how a child will turn out best

Based on what? (Just interested, I'd like to hear your opinion on this, in my experience, what matters is that the child learns the things it needs to survive and thrive in the world, which may well include good role models of both sexes, what doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned is who supplies those things) There's more than one way to do things.
posted by biscotti at 12:22 PM on May 2, 2003


Everything and everyone *is* ok. Some people are just more *ok* than you are.
posted by woil at 1:14 PM on May 2, 2003


Everything and everyone *is* ok. Some people are just more *ok* than you are.

I come here thinking I should expect more from you, but now I realize I can't, and shouldn't.

Please, please, please, justify this ridiculous statement.
posted by jon_kill at 1:28 PM on May 2, 2003


I realize this situation [single parent household] can't be helped in most cases.

Sure it could. The exact same kind of law that would keep same sex couples from adopting could deny straight people the right to divorce, or remove children from homes where only a single parent raises them. Why is that any more intrusive than forbidding same-sex adoption or parenthood?

Answer: Because it might affect you someday. Hypocrite.
posted by vraxoin at 1:38 PM on May 2, 2003


jon_kill, please show us the evidence to back up your viewpoint. People aren't dissenting from you just to be knee-jerk or for politically correct reasons. You are, in fact, wrong on the issue. Every single person on the planet was brought up in a unique situation, and there are billions of them, and they all turned out differently. There is no 'ideal' way to raise a child - plain and simple, that's it. Any attempt to interefere with people to create and raise their own children can stem from only one urge - ignorance.
posted by PigAlien at 1:42 PM on May 2, 2003


What will be the result of a sperm with Y chromosome meeting an egg with Y chromosome (the latter being impossible up to now)? X-linked genes (e.g., those controlling baldness, color-blindness, hemophilia) are missing from the Y chromosome. Whereas it used to be a single-allele situation, is it now zero-allele?
posted by joaquim at 1:46 PM on May 2, 2003


I didn't say anything about making it in the real world. But, okay, all other things being equal, this is perhaps how a child will turn out best.

A child would turn out still better living with a large extended family, cared for by many loving adults and with lots of other children around. In a house large enough to give all of them adequate privacy, of course. In a safe neighborhood, or preferably a rural area.

There's no end to this; however wonderful someone's living situation, you can easily envision how it could be still better if only it weren't necessary to have priorities other than raising children. We have to make concessions to the way humans actually live -- unless you can claim that a child in a certain type of family is deprived of something so crucial that he is unlikely to grow up to be well-adjusted (say, if the mother-to-be is single and unemployed and has substance abuse problems and a prison record), you can't deny people the benefit of the doubt for not living up to an arbitrary ideal.

And as there have been lots of gay couples raising children without huge problems (at least, not beyond the normal adolescent turmoil) for years now, I don't think it even needs to come down to the benefit of the doubt; the evidence has come down squarely on our side. Part of this is due to something rarely acknowledged by the anti- side, that just about all gay people have siblings, parents and/or friends of the opposite sex to share in the responsibility of child-rearing. If a girl's two fathers can't teach her about being a woman, her grandmothers and aunts and others in the vicinity will probably be able to fill in the gaps.

I don't know how I feel about engineering babies this way, but that's because it seems a needless (albeit cool) waste of resources. As far as the parenting part is concerned, gay couples don't have anything to prove.
posted by Epenthesis at 1:47 PM on May 2, 2003


vraxoin: I never said anything about removing children, or even government interference prevening people from pursuing this technology.

I presented my moral viewpoint.

So, I guess I'm not a hypocrite. Please use a smaller brush when you're painting in the corners of the room.
posted by jon_kill at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2003


What will be the result of a sperm with Y chromosome meeting an egg with Y chromosome (the latter being impossible up to now)?

Superheroes.
posted by eddydamascene at 2:48 PM on May 2, 2003


jon kill, I thought that at one time, until a very good point was presented to me:

What's better: Gay, loving parents, or hateful, spiteful, abusive straight parents?
posted by shepd at 3:40 PM on May 2, 2003


What will be the result of a sperm with Y chromosome meeting an egg with Y chromosome (the latter being impossible up to now)?

a doomed fertilization would occur. it's not inconceivable that such has already happened in human history, actually...

it sometimes happens, exceedingly rarely but there are documented cases, that a y-carrying sperm fertilizes an egg that lacks its x gene, or during early embryonic development what's called mosiac split might happen which could leave key cells in the blastocyst without the sex marker genes. the embroyo doesn't last very long because the x gene, unlike a shriveled up and rudimentary y gene, has all sorts of essential person stuff on it. [that is to say, no-one could possibly exist without their female half... or at least, non-x is non-viable].

xyy people [some, such as i *usually*, would say "xyy males" but it seems to please many who talk about gender to think that such a person would not be a male, but something "third flavor"-ish... certainly we know xyy syndrome people are usually taller by 7 cms average... and you can find in many textbooks such infuriating assertions that persons with "type xyy are disproportionately found in prisons"... but please don't derail on this digression] who will produce nearly 25% yy sperm [there will be a tiny amount of xyy and 0 sperm as well as the rest of the distribution]. note that one in 2000 children born are xyy.

such a sperm could fertilize an egg that lacks an x chromosome due to improper meiosis, or possibly due to the egg coming from a fertile woman with an atypical form of turner's syndrome. [turner's syndrome runs about one in 4000] i am not aware of any reason why such an embryo, sex type yy, would not survive for a short time. it would be spontaneously aborted of course, sometime in the first trimester.

also, it is worth noting that of your xyy people, a small proportion must have mosiac split. [it seems reasonable to assume, in fact, that a higher proportion of xyy types would have it than any control group, because mutations tend to cluster slightly due to the influence of mutation-increasing factors and pathogens. this clustering is of course cancelled out by the increased tendency of mutational embryos to abort or die young]. this means that there do indeed exist people walking around with a significant [yet necessarily small] portion of their cells of type yy [and a roughly equal number x0].

---

What's better: Gay, loving parents, or hateful, spiteful, abusive straight parents?

why can't we have all four? or would it be six?
posted by mitchel at 5:43 PM on May 2, 2003


Even on a cellular level 46,YY is non-viable. It is never seen in mosaicism while the other combinations are. An X is required for cellular functionality. It is incorrect to think of the X as being the female version of the male Y, males also have an X. There are genes on the X that have nothing to do with being female.

This discovery is pretty exciting though, for many classes of people who can not currently reproduce.
posted by rhyax at 11:03 PM on May 2, 2003


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