A huge stem cell achievement by an international team could soon allow same-sex couples to have their own children.
Scientists at Britain's Cambridge University and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel used skin cells from five different adults to create stem cells, according to the International Business Times.
These produced sperm and eggs, which were then compared to stem cells from aborted fetuses to confirm they were 100 percent alike.
Since skin cells and stem cells are now all that is necessary to yield the tools for offspring, two people of the same sex could have a child that is genetically their own.
Project leader Azim Surani said,
We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish.
Researchers had previously used engineered cells to create live mice.
This recent breakthrough, however, proved a particular gene that hadn't been important in the mouse experiment is actually vital in the production of human stem cells.
The team now believes it will be just two years before same-sex couples could seek such methods to have children.
It could also be used for men and women suffering from infertility.
The engineered stem cells are seemingly immune to numerous problems regular cells naturally experience.
As a result, many are concerned this will lead to the introduction of "designer babies," who would be programmed to be healthier and even better-looking than the naturally conceived.
This is why the researchers made sure to note that such practices need to be taken into account before the stem cell technique becomes widely available.
Jacob Hanna of the Weizmann Institute said,
I am not in favor of creating engineered humans and the social and ethical implications need to be thought through.
Hanna added that several "gay groups" are already paying close to attention to his team's progress.