On June 20, at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Copenhagen, scientists announced a development in stem cell research that could allow gay couples to have children that share both of their genetic make-up, instead of just one partner sharing a genetic link.
Researchers discovered that they could develop primordial germ cells (PGC) from embryonic stem cells. Stem cells are the master cells of the body, appearing when embryos are just a few days old and developing into every type of cell and tissue in the body, including sperm and eggs.
PCGs are present during the fetal stage and then develop into either sperm or eggs. By gaining the ability to engineer changes in the PCGs, scientists could develop an egg from the PCGs of a man wishing to pair his genetic material with his partner’s sperm. Similarly, a woman’s PCG could be developed into sperm cells that could be used to fertilize her partner’s eggs. In either case, a unique embryo could then naturally form with the genetics of both same-sex partners.