Even more interesting is the possibility that stem cells could be collected from women to create viable sperm – or from men to create viable eggs. And you know what that means:
If [Prof. Karim Nayernia] is successful, the work could give single men and women the possibility of providing both sperm and eggs for embryos – effectively allowing them to mate with themselves. Gay couples would be able to have children which are genetically their own.So even if we accepted Maggie Gallagher’s (silly) argument that gay marriage is wrong because a gay couple can’t have biological children, that objection could dissolve in the presence of new reproductive technology.
I’m reminded of another conservative argument that is susceptible to technological dismantling. Anti-abortion folks will sometimes claim that life (that is, legally protectable human life) must begin at conception because at that point, there exists a cell with the full complement of 46 chromosomes with the potential to become a full-grown human being. But that potential is dependent for its realization on substantial care and feeding, which currently must be accomplished in the womb. Now, if cloning technology eventually advances to the point where any cell – say, one scraped from your palm – could be turned into another person, then the potentiality argument implies that all such cells will have protectable-life status. Yes, lots of attention will be required, but as noted above, the same is true of a zygote. Better be careful how you exfoliate. (Smarter anti-abortion advocates will, at this point, resort to some kind of potential-even-if-you-leave-it-alone claim. That position relies on the distinction between crimes of commission and crimes of omission, of course. I’ll punt on whether that distinction stands up.)
And now that I’ve gone and mentioned abortion, I suppose I should anticipate a full-blown abortion debate in the (lately sluggish) comments section.