July 3, 2022

Will males become extinct?

Brazilian scientists produce artificial sperm

Somewhat
tongue in cheek, an Australian bioethicist has suggested that men, like pandas
and polar bears, are the new endangered species. Now that it is possible to do
without direct male intervention, thanks to reproductive technology, women have
emerged as clearly the superior sex. “Girl babies, therefore have a
significantly more ‘open’ future than boy babies,” says Dr Robert Sparrow, of
the Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University. He suggests that we should
aim for a “post-sex” future by sex-selecting girls until humanity develops true
hermaphrodites, or persons who have two sexes. ~
The
Age (Melbourne), July 11

Well,
fantasy or not, fertility scientists are working on projects which could make
this possible. A Brazilian scientists with papers in Nature to her credit has
announced that mice have produced human sperm. Irina Kerkis, of the Butantan
Institute, of São Paulo, says that the technique could mean that infertile men
could produce sperm, as long as they are willing to involve mice in the
process. Her method is intriguing. She took stem cells from the pulp of teeth and
injected them into male mice. The cells migrated to the mice testes where they
produced viable sperm.

Other
scientists are sceptical, as in past experiments human sperm cells failed to
mature in mouse testes. However, the direction of the research is clear.
Artificial gametes are on the way. ~
Sunday
Times (London), July 6
; New Scientist, July 8