Could asexual reproduction in humans be possible?

Based on this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745894

Yeah I know tumors and fetuses generally aren’t really analogous, but still. It had all the characteristics of a would-be human. The only thing it seemingly didn’t have was defined sex organs. So why don’t scientists take cases like this to research the feasibility of asexual reproduction in humans?

I doubt that there’s much to learn from dysfunctional cells in a tumor. These cells are doing things that we already know cells can do, but in a chaotic fashion.

If you want reproduction without physical sex, we already do that - in vitro fertilization.

If you want reproduction without biological sex (i.e. without combining gametes at all), cloning is one way. And there’s little doubt that we could do that for humans already, if we wanted to.

So what exactly did you have in mind for “asexual reproduction”?

Completely forgot that human cloning is feasible. Yes, I did mean asexual in the sense of not needing the genes of the opposite sex to reproduce.

But can’t the end result be a child that is not a genetic clone of the mother/father?

If we disregard ethical considerations, all manner of things are possible. If you don’t want a clone, what do you envision? We could probably fairly easily combine whole chromosomes from multiple donors, but to what end? With CRISPR technology we will soon be able to edit specific segments of DNA in a conventional zygote, that’s probably the biotech that’s most likely to actually happen in the near future.

What do you think asexual reproduction is? The asexually created offspring are genetically identical to the single parent, which means they’re clones of the parent.

There’s also self-fertilizing, where the parent organism creates haploid male and female gametes that would then recombine to produce a non-clonal diploid offspring. Better hope your double parent doesn’t have many deleterious recessive genes. This is common especially in plants, although many plant species have mechanisms to prevent self-fertilization.

However, hermaphrodites that produce both male and female gametes are pretty rare among vertebrates. So self-fertilization is probably not a great idea for your genetically engineered atomic super(wo)men. Better go with parthenogenesis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis

Thanks for the link on parthenogenesis, it’s very insightful. Yes, I know cloning is a form of asexual reproduction, but what I had in mind was a method of asexually reproducing a child that’s as distinct from the parent in the way a two parent child is, not a genetic twin (that wiki link is only bit of info directly addressing my question). I’m wholly ignorant about the subject, but I promise I’m not dumb.

But while on the subject of cloning, would a clone child of a parent be considered its child or its drastically younger twin? Does it depend on who gestates the fetus and under what circumstances?

You will have to be clearer what you mean. Can you explain what are you aiming to achieve? Who is going to contribute genetic material to this child, one person or two (of more)?

There’s no legal framework for this, because it has never been done. If genetic material is contributed by someone other than the woman who bears the child, I imagine the situation would be comparable to current surrogate motherhood.

We already have a legal framework that distinguishes between the legal parent of a child and the biological parent. This is known as "adoption ".

But adoption is quite different from surrogate parenting.

My point is that the legal parentage of a hypothetical asexually created baby is very easily accommodated by our existing body of family law.

It’s just that in 95% of cases, simply saying that you’re the parent of the newborn baby when no one else steps forward to dispute your assertion is enough to make you the legal parent of the baby, regardless of genetics.

Nobody demanded a DNA test from me when my kids were born, me saying I was the father and my wife agreeing and nobody disagreeing was enough to make me their legal father. And even if today I went and got a test that proved I was not the genetic father it wouldn’t matter, I would still be their legal parent.