Like reproductive cloning, efforts to use female sperm or other artificial gametes would mean starting with biological materials that have not been produced by evolutionary dynamics to participate in reproduction. In human beings, this would be an extraordinarily high-risk gamble. As researchers and others have concluded in speculation about human reproductive cloning, the very investigations that would be required to try to improve the safety of female-sperm reproduction in human beings would amount to unethical human experimentation.
What's going on here? Why are speculative and risky technologies being held out to lesbians and gay men as tantalizing prospects? Are reproductive methods that amount to dangerous experimentation on their children really a road to freedom for gay families? Or is the language of equality and empowerment being used to justify human experimentation that puts these children at great risk?
Anti-gay sentiment is not caused by the inability of same-sex couples to have biologically related children, but by fear and intolerance. The solutions to homophobia will not be found in test tubes and Petri dishes, but in challenging and changing our laws, policies and culture. Our resources are far better spent advocating for equal access to existing means of family building, legal protections for gay parents and children, and full social acceptance of diverse kinds of families.
Of course, any assisted reproduction techniques that are safe and ethical for heterosexuals should also be available for gays. But the obverse is also true: Reproductive methods that are not safe enough for straight people shouldn't be promoted to gays and lesbians. Gay families should not be made into guinea pigs for techno-enthusiasts interested in extreme forms of human experimentation.
"Female sperm and gay guinea pigs"
That's the title of a great op-ed in SFGate, online home of the San Francisco Chronicle. Some key passages: