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Men's irrelevance for sex, reproduction is coming at us fast

 Men’s irrelevance for sex, reproduction is coming at us fast (Photo: iStock)

For humans, sex serves the dual purpose of pleasure and reproduction. But both of these natural processes no longer enjoy their once predominant exclusivity. Sexual pleasure faces stiff competition from all sorts of artificial gadgets. Science is already advanced enough to negate sex as a means of reproduction. And men’s contribution is the easiest to discount, slowly making men irrelevant.

Let’s start with reproduction. Artificial fertility treatments already achieve pregnancy rates that easily surpass natural conception rates. The limiting factors are the high levels of interventions and costs.

Scientific breakthroughs have also resulted in the creation of reproductive cells in the laboratory, using so-called stem cells. Such cells have the potential to develop into diverse specialised cells like nerves, blood cells or even eggs and sperm. Once stem cells have been signalled to develop into sperms, the man becomes irrelevant for the sake of reproduction. Some years ago, experimental research managed to create life from skin cells!

Following the successful creation of sperms from stem cells, scientists re-programmed skin-like cells into becoming eggs. The eggs were matured, fertilised and then implanted into a potential mother. This then resulted in healthy offspring, who went on to have offspring of their own. But hang on, this was not done in humans, but in mice! The ultimate aim of such research is to help infertile couples.

It’s pretty obvious though that men’s sperm may not be needed in future. And sex for pleasure? If you know where to look, you’ll find all sorts of replacements for men’s sexual organs. And it is no longer the replacement of selected organs. Full humanoid ‘men’, complete with AI-driven emotions, can be hired or purchased for sexual gratification. And their prowess is incomparable. Why then bother with men just for sex? (For the sake of balance, the opposite also holds).  It’s easy to see why a man may not be necessarily needed for sex or pregnancy.

What will then be the use of men eventually? Realistically, even the most advanced AI-driven humanoid cannot completely replace a natural human. So sex for pleasure will still make men desirable. The expense and ethics of lab-proven advanced reproductive treatments still limit application to humans. Again, sex will still have a place as the natural way of conception, and is unlikely to be completely replaced any time soon.

So, the countdown to men’s irrelevance is still way off, but it’s not science fiction either.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.


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