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dna transfer + artificial wombs

babies biologically related to same-sex couples
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,

has this been done yet?:

two women (for instance, since it's the simpler case) want to have a baby genetically a product of both of them. so eggs are taken from each, and sperm from a sperm bank. then the dna is stripped out of one sperm and one egg, the egg dna is placed in the sperm, and the sperm fertilizes the egg that came from the other woman. then the zygote is put into the uterus of one of the women for it to grow.

for men, the same thing could be done, but the other way around. but it would be complicated by the need for a surrogate mother.

this brings us to the idea that would help both couples (and women in general): artificial wombs, à la brave new world (of course, in better circumstances). with artificial wombs, no woman would ever need to endure any heath risks, pain, sickness, bedridden states, detrimental effects to the body, et cetera, caused by pregnancy and childbirth. the artificial womb could be supplied with heartbeat and breathing effects, and other environmental elements to mimic the effect of being in a body. the fetus while growing, would have ideal conditions. it would be free from temperature changes, excessive noise, infectious agents, and unnecessary drugs. the risk of physical trauma would be extremely small, i. e. natural disaster in hospital, malpractice. it could be monitored constantly with medical devices which would alert a nurse to problems. and when a problem happened, there would be no need to wait for a doctor's appointment or an ambulance, because the fetus would already be at the hospital. then when it was ready to be born, all that would be required is, the nurse or doctor opening up the door on the artificial womb and pulling the baby out.

dj_photon, Apr 17 2001

The rubber womb http://www.newscien...ility/japanese.html
News story on artificial wombs. No sign of plans yet, unfortunately, to scale them up and market them to the insecure and the extremely lazy. [Monkfish, Apr 17 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Antinori's Folly http://www.cnn.com/...e.doctor/index.html
Can you say, "Man's gift to the world"? [reensure, Apr 17 2001]


       When you get the artificial womb perfected...let me know. Great idea for those of us who just don't have time to get fat.....of course, a sperm donor would be needed too.....
Susen, Apr 17 2001

       What would be a reasonable salary for watching the budding X-X or Y-Y grow?
reensure, Apr 17 2001

       What is a Y-Y?
redpony, Apr 17 2001

       X and Y are the genes that control gender. XX is female, and XY is male. YY is non-existant, which is an unforseen problem when you go throwing dna around between sexes.
tkeyser, Apr 17 2001

       Susen, I'm with you. I'll hold out for the [literally] out-of-body experience, thanks very much.   

       As for the viability of such an invention, look at it this way: it's got to be better than resorting to David Crosby as your girlfriend's sperm donor.
1percent, Apr 17 2001

       *shudders* - let alone Wally Cox or Professor Irwin Corey
thumbwax, Apr 17 2001

       waug: Out of curiosity, how did you arrive at those numbers?
PotatoStew, Apr 17 2001

       I think wakgsqueke is right as Y-Y would be missing too much genetic material... but since men have both X and Y chromosomes you have no need - you can take an X from one and a Y from the other (or two Xs)   


       Female same sex couples could only have female offspring.   

       Male same sex couples could have either male or female offspring.
st3f, Apr 18 2001

       Technically this quite difficult...   

       1. The DNA that is packed into the head of a sperm is heavily compressed using special proteins to hold the structure together. The female DNA that is placed in the head would also need to be heavily compressed and be placed into a very small target area, beyond current micro-manipulation procedures...   

       [Home experiment] try twisting a peice of string, now keep twisting until it begins to knot upon itself. This is what the sperm DNA is like...   

       2. Male DNA (Y) + Male DNA (Y) - would be a bad idea. The Y chromosome is much shorter than the X chromosome because it is missing many genes. Normal males, XY are OK, because one complete copy of genes exist; hence, the higher number of male prevelance of e.g Duchenne Musculary Dystrophy.   

       3. Artifial Wombs are more intriguing... Perhaps it could include a small observation window, i.e. "a womb with a view"...   

       One problem though, the mother passes many useful things to the baby via the placenta, including nicotine, caffeine and cocaine...
riposte, Apr 18 2001

       1999 New York Times carried two articles about artificial uteri, one for goats 'goat on a rope.' Sorry about the sick humor, but it was in the article. There is no YY. There is an XYY, which is a genetic error. At one time these super-Y males were thought to be violent murderers. Apparently a survey of the prison population refuted this--I don't have a source for that, however. How about we clone a uterus, or build one from stem cells? Women with problems carrying a child to term would benefit.
terkemp, Jun 27 2001

       The artificial womb "...would be free from temperature changes, excessive noise, infectious agents, and unnecessary drugs. ". Unfortunately it would also be free of the sounds that a growing foetus hears and processes, including it's mother's voice. It's hard to measure how much a foetus may 'learn' while in the womb, but depriving one of all external stimulii is unlikely to produce a mentally balanced child.
Lemon, Jun 27 2001

       Did you miss this part? -- "... the artficial womb could be supplied with heartbeat and breathing effects, and other environmental elements to mimic the effect of being in a body."   

       If science finds that fetuses who hear their mother come out better than those who don't, a recording of the mother's voice could be played periodically to "prime" the fetus. And so on.   

       That addresses your concern, unless you think that the stimuli needed by a fetus can't possibly be automated.
jutta, Jul 04 2001

       I wonder what Malthus would have to say about the 99.5% failure rate of such experiments on the world net population growth.   

       //.. - you can take an X from one and a Y from the other (or two Xs) ..// st3f. I believe I'd want to wait until I could prove that this could be done, before proceeding in a large scale trial (see link) I recall hearing that the scientists planning for a human clone intend to produce males. How? I don't know; this may be an offshoot of the borrowing of a nucleus from a male.
reensure, Aug 06 2001

       Have you thought of the implications for pregnant women who(for whatever reason) are planning to kill their unborn baby? No more abortion! You'd just take the baby out and put it in the artificial womb. You could have a clinic where they have a bunch of babies, and people who want to adopt the baby could go and get the baby inplanted in their womb, or wait until the baby's born, and then take the baby home. However, there is also the issue of speech. Babies have already accustomed themselves to their parent's voices at birth. Especially the mother. You could tape the mother's voice, but I heard that babies tend to ignore tapes in favor of actual people. And motion is important to babies too. The baby is rocked in the womb by the mother walking around. That's why babies like being rocked, especially in snugglies. I suppose perhaps you could set the artificial womb up to shift around regularely, and have some people who are employed sitting chatting with the baby(Oh, what a cute fetus you are...) and also with other people. How about breastfeeding? It's proven to be the best for a baby. Perhaps they could give the mother hormones to make her body think she's just had a baby, and get a breast pump to stimulate milk production. However, talking about that reminds me of something. There are probably tons of stuff we can't artificially produce that goes through the umbilical cord. Formula-fed babies are more prone to allergies, have lower IQ's, more asthma, poorer immune system, etc. The list goes on. What would be the effect during pregnancy of missing out on stuff we don't understand? Developmental delays, physical deformities, weak immune systems, breathing problems? Other stuff? Granted, in some cases it's better than the alternative, in ectopic pregnancies or abortion or whatever. It might be good for cases where hydrocephalus is detected prenatally, for example, because they could more easily insert a shunt. Most cases where hydrocephalus is severe enough to be detected prenatally, the baby dies. But perhaps for now it would be better if lesbian and gay couples cooperated to have babies(ie, both lesbians carry the babies). They could even have one be genetically related to both women and the other to both men.
Ettina, Jan 20 2004

       I just thought of a way a YY person could be conceived naturally. Sometimes, chromosomes swap genes. There's this one little collection of genes on the Y chromosome that doesn't exist on the X chromosome, which makes the person a boy. Sometimes, this little bunch of genes, the 'boy' genes, gets swapped over to the X. This can cause XX boys and XY girls. Both types of people, as far as I can tell, are fertile. If an XY girl has kids with a normal boy(XY), the kids could be the following: XX=normal girl XY=normal boy XY=XY girl YY=YY boy, with one normal Y and one non-boy Y I'd guess that probably a YY boy would be miscarried, but I don't know. A geneticist could probably tell me if there's anything absolutely essential on the part exclusive to the X chromosome. I know some clotting factor genes are on there, which is why hemophilia is more common in boys. And I think there are many X-linked disorders that cause developmental delay, such as Fragile X. Also, I think growth is related to the sex chromosomes, as is fertility. Here's a list of sex chromosome disorders caused by an unusual number and their effects:   

       Klinefelter Syndrome(XXY):breast growth at puberty, weight gain at puberty, low or nonexistant sperm production, increased probability of developmental delay or learning disabilities, lethargy at puberty, testicles remain child-sized and not very hairy. Basically, they're mostly normal pre-puberty except for a higher incidence of learning problems, but at puberty it's like a female puberty in a male body. The weight gain is due to their body packing away nutrients for menstruation and then not menstruating due to a lack of a womb and ovaries.   

       Turner's Syndrome(single X):shortness(average height 147cms), infertility, no changes at puberty, slighty higher risk for heart defects.   

       XYY Syndrome:tallness(7 cms above the height they'd otherwise be), hyperactivity, increased risk of developmental delays or learning disabilities, normal fertility   

       Triple X Syndrome(XXX): normal fertility except increased risk of early menopause, increased risk of developmental delays or learning disabilities(and I know it's kind of obvious that Triple X Syndrome has three X chromosomes, but just in case...)   

       XXYY Syndrome:little is known about it, but I've heard the following: hand tremors, tallness, increased risk of learning disabilities or developmental delays, ADD, mood swings(sometimes to the point of manic-depression),sensory integration dysfunction(go to http://www.geocities.com/~kasmom/sid.html to find out about sensory integration dysfunction), scoliosis(curving of the spine), flat feet, dental problems, wide set eyes, a curved pinky finger, infertility due to not going through puberty   

       There are also others such as XXXY, XXXYY, XXXYYY, XYYY, XXXX, XXXXXXXX, ad infinitum. Those are the most common.
Ettina, Jan 20 2004


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