Technology and Lesbian Reproduction: Module 10 Response

Technology and Lesbian Reproduction: Module 10 Response

lesbian-couple

Note: For the sake of clarity in this piece, I am using the term “bio-sex female” to refer to people who have a uterus, ovaries, and egg cells, and the term “bio-sex male” to refer to people who have testes and sperm cells. These terms are not perfect and do not account for all possible nuances in bodies and are not intended to make a statement on the gender of the people inhabiting said bodies.

In her “Introduction to Women and Health: Power, Technology, Inequality, and Conflict in a Gendered World, Kathryn S. Ratcliff raises some excellent points about what she refers to as “technological favouritism,” which is the propensity to turn to technology in medicine, assuming that technology is always the best option. Ratcliff points out that this is not always the case and that technology is sometimes overused in women’s health care.

These are very important points, however I would like to talk a bit about the other side of the coin, and discuss how technology actually can be beneficial in women’s health care, namely with regards to two bio-sex females being able to have their own children.

In early 2015 it was reported that scientists could be as close as two years away from using skin cells to create gametes that could be combined with an egg or sperm cell to create a human zygote. This is extremely exciting news as it means that children can be born from two genetic parents of the same sex.

Already two bio-sex females can have a child that is biologically both of theirs. Many lesbian couples, for example, use in-vitro fertilization to use an embryo created from one partner’s egg combined with a donor’s sperm implanted in the other partner’s uterus. The resulting child would therefore be genetically connected to one parent, but would also have a biological connection to the gestational parent. The connection would not be genetic, however the gestational parent’s DNA would control how the fetus’ DNA expresses itself in the child’s phenotype.

This new report, however, would mean that bio-sex females could create a child between the two of them without the need for any donor sperm, and their child would be genetically both of theirs. Bio-sex males could also have a child that is genetically both of theirs without the need for donated eggs, however they would still need a surrogate mother to carry the pregnancy to term.

These advances in technology have the potential to provide great benefit to lesbian and bio-sex female couples. The prospect of being able to create a gamete from skin cells is particularly exciting, as it means that bio-sex female partners would not have to seek donor sperm for their child; in other words, they would not have to involve anyone else’s genetic material to have a child, potentially avoiding messy situations between themselves and the donor. They would already have everything they need between them to create a new life.

Sources:

Image Source: http://www.autostraddle.com/two-lesbian-moms-awarded-parental-rights-almost-as-if-both-are-actually-parents-126824/

http://time.com/3748019/same-sex-couples-biological-children/

Ratcliff, Kathryn S. “Introduction to Women and Health: Power, Technology, Inequality, and Conflict in a Gendered World.” Gender and Women’s Studies in Canada: Critical Terrain. By Margaret Hobbs and Carla Rice. Toronto: Women’s, 2013. 427-35. Print.

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