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There’s good news for same-sex couples wanting to have biological children. Currently, many gay and lesbian couples who want to have children opt for donor insemination, adoption, or surrogacy, which can be very expensive. Now, researchers at Cambridge University in England have taken the first steps in stem cell research.
Researchers have created artificial sperm and eggs by reprogramming skin cells from adults and converting them into embryonic-like stem cells. The group of researchers compared the engineered stem cells with human cells from fetuses and found that they were identical.
They will move on to try to complete the process by creating fully developed artificial sperm and eggs in a dish or a rodent. If they achieve success, this could be a break-through and could be used for anyone experiencing fertility problems, including same-sex couples wanting to have children.
What Are Your Options Now?
Donor insemination: A man can donate his sperm and a woman is inseminated. In most cases couples that are civil partners at time of conception will be treated as the child’s legal parents.
Surrogacy: This is when you technically rent a womb by arranging to have a woman have your child. A mother’s egg can be fertilized by the father, but unfortunately the woman can change her mind and refuse to give up the child after he or she has been born.
Co-parenting: Many times a lesbian and a gay man can arrange to have children together. He donates the sperm and they agree to share custody of the child when he or she is born.
Adoption: There are various adoption agencies that help LGBT individuals and couples adopt a child. The process can be lengthy and can cost up to $25,000.