Babies with two fathers or two mothers could become a reality after a breakthrough by researchers at Cambridge. They have shown that it is possible to make human egg and sperm cells using skin from two adults of the same sex. The development could help men and women who have become infertile through disease or gay couples to have children. But critics voiced concern, arguing that the breakthrough brings closer the prospect of ‘designer babies’, in which the looks, character and health attributes of children would be selected by parents. The scientists from Cambridge University and the Weizmann Institute in Israel used skin from five adults to artificially create ‘germ’ cells, or stem cells, which make sperm and eggs in the body. The academics say the cells could also be used as a “repair kit” to heal tissue in any part of the body. Jacob Hanna, the specialist leading the project’s Israeli arm, said the technique could be used to create a baby just two years from now. However, he conceded that ethical implications needed to be considered carefully. “I am not in favour of creating engineered humans but I am very confident it will work and will be very relevant to anyone who has lost their fertility through disease.”
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