Friday, July 10, 2009

women doing it for themselves

There was a huge fuss in the media this week about the first sperms to be made from human stem cells. It's not at all surprising that it can be done, of course. As pluripotent stem cells can be made to produce any kind of cells (with the right incentive), they can also produce eggs and sperms.

(added 30.7. -- I hear this paper has now been retracted over plagiarism allegations, according to science magazine )

But why would one want to make artificial sperm when the natural thing is the one resource we have in zillion-fold excess over demand? There is only one reasonable answer -- people behind this are working towards making men redundant. In the future, one could easily make sure that only girls are conceived, and in order to keep fertilisation going, one would need to make sperms from stem cells. Easy as that. You can imagine the consequences (mainly positive, I happen to think) for yourself, or read this.

In a world without men, women will of course have to provide their own stimulation, as it were, and this is what this commentary is about. One of the authors used to live in our neighbourhood for a while, and I actually like her books, so I am sorry to see the imprint close down. I think the publishers have failed to read their crystal ball correctly ...

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