Transgender mothers may soon be a possibility, according to one of the world’s most prominent fertility experts.
Science has now made it possible for women who started their lives as men to receive implanted wombs and attempt pregnancies in the near future, says Richard Paulson, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Paulson said that trans procedures and medicines have now become more “mainstream” and that men who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are going to want to take advantage of that, The Telegraph reports.
However, British medical experts have warned that attempts at pregnancy in transgender women may raise questions of ethics as it would be safer for a child to be carried and born by a surrogate mother. If womb transplantation for natural women becomes available, hospitals would also have to offer it to transgender women because of equalities legislation.
Transferring a donated womb is a long, complicated process and only a small number of women have tried it, so far. But advances in the procedure are increasing, especially in global centers.
Paulson added that there is no anatomical reason why a womb should and could not be successfully implanted in transgender women. “You could do it tomorrow. There would be additional challenges, but I don’t see any obvious problem that would preclude it,” he said.
I personally suspect there are going to be trans women who are going to want to have a uterus and will likely get the transplant.
Men and women have differently-shaped pelvises, but there would be enough room for an implanted womb. But the shape of a male womb means that transgender women can only give birth through caesarean section.
Since 2014, there have been at least five babies born to women with implanted wombs in Sweden. Other transplant programs have started appearing in Europe, and doctors in the United Kingdom have received permission to start their own initiatives.
Julian Savulescu, a Philosopher and bioethical specialist at Oxford University, said, “Uterine transplantation represents a real risk to the fetus, and future child. We ought avoid exposing fetuses and future children to unnecessary significant risks.” He added, “Although technically possible to perform the procedure, you would also need to be very confident the uterus would function normally during pregnancy. Uterine rupture could cause the death or permanent disablement of the fetus.” Public funds should not be used to pay for research into this, either, he said.