The day has finally come. Scientists have figured out how to put an end to nine months of backaches, cankles, and the complete destruction of our lady parts for the sake of the propagation of the species. They helped two dads make a baby.
Well, two mouse dads anyway. In a completely convoluted process that had something to do with the X chromosomes on boy DNA and the Y chromosomes on another boy's DNA, University of Texas geneticists just made mothers obsolete! Let's go drink the wine we couldn't have for nine whole months! Wait, what? Obsolete?
It's a simplification, but that's what they're working toward. The dads supply the genetic material, and while technically they had a female mouse to carry the babies, she wasn't mom. She was just a vessel. It's not a huge jump to wonder how soon they'll make the leap that will drop her from the equation entirely. Is this the beginning of the end for Mom?
Five seconds ago, I was kvelling. Now, not so much. This is an amazing scientific breakthrough for mousekind, sure, but I'm suddenly wondering how great this path really is for Moms. Most of the mothers I know are not going to let this one go without a fight. Sorry, ladies, but we're just too controlling to let this happen.
Take the comments on an article I wrote recently about letting dads have the final say on circumcision. I was surprised to see Mom after Mom weigh in not on whether she's yay or nay on cutting (that came too -- and ladies, I get that), but to say they wouldn't let ANYONE make that decision for their kids. Really? Anyone? Not even someone else who has just as much of an investment in your child as you do?
Now imagine those women having to hand over the whole process. Making the baby, carrying the baby ... letting him eat what he wants, take the medicine he wants. What if he dyes his hair or has a propensity for stinky cheeses? Quelle horreur!
I can dig it. I'm a forward-thinking feminist who considers what happens in my household to be as close to sharing the load as possible when the male parent works outside the home and the female parent works at home. But I have to sit on my hands sometimes lest I throw them out and grab a scarf and throw it on our daughter when he's walking her out to school in the morning. I've been known to grab a book and stare at it studiously without taking in a single word just so he doesn't see my judgmental face while he disciplines in a way I never would. It's hard to give up control!
On the other hand, we must face that in technical terms, it's already happening; moms who adopt don't get to carry their kids or provide a genetic link, and some are just fine with that. It doesn't make them love their kids less. And I'd love for my gay friends to not just become parents but have the chance to be the biological parents of their kids ... both of them.
Scientists are pretty clear that one mouse with two dads today does not mean hundreds of human babies with dual daddies tomorrow. For one thing, they still need that female carrier -- even if she doesn't supply the genetic material. That means pregnancy is still the woman's job ... even if she's not the Mom. The science itself is also plagued by numerous troubles -- not least that the progeny of parents from the same gender seem plagued by cancer.
Would you be able to hand over babymaking to the guys?
Image via audreyjm529/Flickr