Sperm on Demand: Do We Still Need Men?
Pradip Atluri | On 27, May 2014
Scientists have long been able to program skin cells to grow into cells that can exist in any organ of the body; which means that if you’re running short of red blood cells, you can leave a skin sample at your doctor’s and come back the next day. It’s not cheap enough for the average Joe, but the technology exists. The only exception until now has been the creation of sperm. We always needed the male testes and a fully functional human body to produce them.
Well, not any more we don’t.
This is not the stuff of science fiction any more. It is real. It is here. Men are not required to produce sperm. On one side this raises severe ethical issues: for instance, what is stopping someone from stealing a strand of hair from Brad Pitt and making for himself (or herself) some Pitt clones? And where will paternity tests be, in a world in which even dead men can biologically father children? Will we own our own DNA, or will we all belong to some state-run entity that keeps close watch on everything we do? The mind boggles with the possibilities.
The biggest possibility, of course, and no one’s saying anything too loudly yet, is that men are no longer necessary for keeping the human race alive. ‘Can’t live with them, can’t live without’ used to be a common refrain between the sexes. The second part of that sentence appears to be rapidly losing its truth.