Upcoming film shatters gender roles, makes men irrelevant

arvan's picture

The Baby Forumla, a new film from Canada explores the concept of reproduction between two women using only their DNA.  The science is not that far off, really (via stemcells). 

I have not seen the film, but the premise already has me committed to viewing it.  There is a nice commentary on the premise, science and ethics of the film however, by Sheryl Ubelacker at the Globe and Mail

For many people (thanks in large part to conservative disinformation campaigns) stem cells are a by-product of abortions.  They are however in our bone marrow as living beings and can be accessed without harvesting abortions or afterbirths. 

Stem cells are like the body's blueprint, giving rise to all the different cells that make up an organism, from the skin and organs to the brain, bone and blood. Harnessing them as factories to produce specialized cells to repair or regrow tissues is the great hope of regenerative medicine.

This medical concept may be sensationalized by conservative or fundamentalist fear-mongers as sedition or an attempt to overthrow The Patriarchy.  However, it can also serve to repair reproductive damage from disease or injury.

...artificially derived sperm and eggs also could help researchers look for ways to protect the fertility of men and women undergoing cancer treatments.

However, the very real science hurdles make this a problem to be genuinely handled sometime after the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

There would be several biological hurdles to overcome, he says. First and foremost, women's DNA contains two X chromosomes, but no Y (male) chromosome.

“Without the Y chromosome, it's just simply not possible,” Dr. Nagy says. “The other issue here is that females have two X chromosomes and the presence of two X chromosomes in a cell again [blocks] the sperm formation.”

Germ cells must also be able to undergo meiosis – the process of cell division that leads to sperm and eggs having just one set of 23 chromosomes, rather than pairs adding to 46, as found in all other cells. It's not clear whether sperm coaxed from female stem cells could do that.

Obviously, we humans are an industrious lot and we have a pretty good track record of making stuff up in books that happen soon after.  I mean, Jules Verne predicted submarines and space travel, living in gaslight Europe. 

So, this film sets us up to ponder when and not if.  When people can love each other and produce children, regardless of their sex, gender, body.

“I think we have to move beyond the sort of yuck response,” he (Dr. Andras Nagy) says. “When we start regulating and curtailing technologies and setting up barriers, I do think we need to do it on a principle basis.”

It wasn't that long ago that sperm donation and test-tube babies were thought disgusting by some, he says. Now they're accepted practice.

“I think the yuck response is a good reason for caution and a good reason for reflection, but it's not a justification for prohibition. …

I don't think there will be a fire sale to eliminate men from the planet, but I will thoroughly enjoy watching the old, fat patriarchy shit bricks worrying about it.  I come down on the side of embracing the marvels of nature and how our understanding of it enables us to explore and fulfill our ability to love each other and extend the human race for another generation.

-arvan

 

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