LGBT couples may have children with their own genetic information in the not too distant future, thanks to the development of techniques that will allow DNA to reach human embryos using the stem cells of the parents. This was announced by a team led by Dr. Jan Tesarik, director of the MARGen Clinic in Granada.
The use of stem cells as a source of parental genetic contribution to the future embryo will make it possible to “erase” the epigenetic memory of the cells used, so that these cells will be completely “forgotten” if they come from a woman or a man. The next step will be to reprogram these cells to act as female or male, as desired.
The development of these techniques was initiated at the end of the 1990s by this same team and in 2001 it achieved the formation of the first human embryos using the parents’ own genetic material, extracted from adult cells (neither sperm cells, nor ovules). The publication of this study, in 2001 in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online “marked a turning point in the appreciation of the importance of sperm and ovules in the process of human reproduction”, indicates a statement from the clinic.
The works carried out by the Tesarik team have reached the formation of human eggs and embryos from the genetic material derived from the somatic cells of the patients. However, the frequency of chromosomal abnormalities in the embryos was too high to apply the technique in clinical treatments. “A promising alternative using our technique,” says the doctor, “is the use of stem cells (dedifferentiated), derived from cells extracted from adults, instead of differentiated adult cells.“
Procreation with stem cells from two same-sex individuals (two females or two males) has already been achieved in the mice. Doing the same in humans is a much more complicated task, due to the differences between the mechanisms of gametogenesis and embryogenesis between rodents and primates, “but not impossible,” concludes Tesarik.