A revolutionary technique could exclude men from the creation of babies, allowing lesbians to have a child who is genetically their own, has emerged.
Experts in Australia believe they have found a way to fertilise a woman’s egg with cells from any part of the human body as per Dailymail UK
These could include those from a woman and mean that a child could be conceived without the need for sperm, let alone a father, leading to endless possibilities.
The team said the technique could allow a lesbian couple to have a baby, with one woman contributing an egg and the second a cell to fertilise it.
Both partners would be its ‘natural’ parents. Researcher Dr Orly Lacham-Kaplan said the process mimicked nature.
‘This was similar to an embryo derived from fertilisation by sperm,’ she added.
The announcement comes after the team at Monash University, Melbourne, carried out successful trials on mice as part of a project to help infertile couples.
They succeeded in fertilising a normal egg using the nucleus of a cell taken from a male.
Previously this has been thought impossible as cells have two sets of chromosomes, whereas sperm has only one.
In natural fertilisation, the two sets of chromosomes in an egg are separated and one is expelled, leaving a single set to combine with the single set from the sperm. Dr Lacham-Kaplan and her team found the egg can be manipulated by certain chemicals.
These make it ‘spit out’ the excess genetic material from the fertilising cell and mimic nature.
The egg is then left with the right number of chromosomes for developing into an embryo – half its own and half contributed by the cell.
The eggs have developed relatively normally in the laboratory, almost reaching the stage where they could be implanted into a womb.
The team is trying to transfer the embryos to surrogate mice.
Once any mice offspring have been born, the team will test their behaviour and ability to reproduce and give birth to a new healthy generation. But there are major obstacles to be overcome before scientists could consider using the technique on humans.
People also inherit not just genes but chemical gene switches, called imprints, that can turn some genes off.
Chromosomes taken from body cells have different patterns of imprinting to egg and sperm cells that could cause developmental abnormalities, which may be why cloning often ends in failure.
Last year there was controversy at a procedure which could allow gay men to have their own children by replacing the DNA in a donated egg with that from one of the partners.