In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG)

A recent scientific breakthrough could mean that same-sex couples may one day be able to have babies who are genetically related to both partners, rather than just one.

In Vitro Gametogenesis
The new process, IVG (In Vitro Gametogenesis), would also make it possible for babies to be conceived using the DNA of just one parent or more parents.

The technique would also allow single individuals to have children without the genetic contribution of another person. It could also mean 'multiplex' parenting, where groups of more than two individuals procreate together, producing children who are the genetic progeny of them all.

Obviously, this process may well prove controversial with many, however IVG also allows for the ability to screen for diseases or even traits.

If IVG is approved it would involve collecting a somatic cell (such as a cell from a muscle) belonging to each parent. These cells could be used to produce a stem cell from which gametes (sex cells) would be derived. These gametes could be used to produce an egg cell from a man, or a sperm cell from a woman.

For same-sex couples this produced gamete could be combined with a "naturally" derived gamete from the other member of the couple to produce an embryo. The resulting child would share 50% of its DNA with each member of the couple.

Fertility Issues
For straight couples with fertility problems that mean one or both partners cannot provide sperm or an egg, IVG would also allow them to reproduce without relying on egg or sperm donation from a third person.

Multiplex Parenting
With "multiplex" parenting among four parents, sperm and eggs made from stem cells would be taken from each adult, and they would be combined in two pairs to create two embryos. Cells would then be taken from each of these embryos to create further gamete cells to be combined to make a third embryo. This embryo would have a quarter of DNA from each donor parent.

For "solo IVG", involving just one parent, the individual would derive the female or male counterpart of gametes via IVG to use with his or her naturally derived gamete to produce an embryo through IVF.

While the technical ability to do this in the future seems likely, the moral, ethical and legal issues raised are a complete minefield. If a child has multiple parents, which parents have parental rights and responsibilities?