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posted by martyb on Monday November 06 2017, @02:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the "tomorrow"-give-or-take-nine-months dept.

Richard Paulson, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, has said that transgender women could give birth as soon as "tomorrow" using donated wombs:

Those born with male assigned sex organs cannot conceive children biologically; however, this may soon change, at least according to one fertility expert. Transgender women—those who were assigned male at birth—could give birth as early as "tomorrow," Richard Paulson, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said, according to The Telegraph. Thanks to advances in transgender medicine, donated wombs may be able to help transgender women conceive on their own, Paulson said during the society's annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Since at least 1999, transgender men have successfully given birth to healthy children, The Washington Post [archive] reports. More recently, Trystan Reese, a transgender man and his partner Biff Chaplow, gave birth to a healthy child last August. Despite their successes, the process is much more complex for transgender women. Primarily because a man's pelvis is a different shape than a woman's, making the birth much more complicated. Still, Paulson insists that it's possible, but notes the birth must be conducted via cesarean section.

"There would be additional challenges, but I don't see any obvious problem that would preclude it," Paulson 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."

Only eight children have been born worldwide to mothers (born female) who had a uterine transplant, with the first such birth occurring in 2014. As we have reported, the first attempted uterine transplant in the U.S. failed last year.

Here's a 2016 article on the topic at Scientific American, which notes that surrogacy (which can have its own problems) is illegal in some countries. The article raises the question of unnecessary risks to the patient, as well as unknown risks posed to the fetus by a "potentially unstable biological environment" modulated by hormone treatments.

Not mentioned: the prospect of creating an artificial embryo using the DNA of two biological men, which is expected to be possible imminently (predicted by researchers two years ago to be available in 2017). Since men have both an X and Y sex chromosome, they should be able to have either a son or a daughter using such a technique.

If an artificial womb is developed in the future and it has a lesser chance of causing complications than a traditional pregnancy, would it be unethical for a woman to conceive a child naturally? Fetal lambs have been grown for up to four weeks in an artificial womb, so we may get an answer in the coming decades.

Also at the Sacremento Bee.


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 06 2017, @02:59PM (21 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday November 06 2017, @02:59PM (#593065) Journal

    With extensive modification - but not necessarily genetic modification - men could gestate a child and give birth to it.

    It also looks likely that machines (no gender, not a life form) will be able to gestate a child and give birth to it. Humans and other organisms are just biological machines, so no surprise there.

    So while you have taken this opportunity to subtly snipe at transgendered people, the real conclusion is that women are about to be made obsolete. We will also be able to make eggs and fertilized embryos synthetically from a digital DNA sequence. And while donated female DNA will probably be involved in the initial years, that could be made superfluous by reference genomes and modifications done by a computer. You could theoretically write the "code" yourself base pair by base pair, but it would be much easier to select various pre-written and scientifically understood modifications.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @03:35PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @03:35PM (#593100)

    Isn't that wonderful? Now a pair of mysoginists can get together, and never have to involve the hated female in their procreation.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Monday November 06 2017, @03:42PM (16 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday November 06 2017, @03:42PM (#593108)

    It also looks likely that machines (no gender, not a life form) will be able to gestate a child and give birth to it. Humans and other organisms are just biological machines, so no surprise there.

    Yes, and this is hopefully how things will be in the future: humans won't have kids at all, and instead, all new humans will be grown artificially in factories, run by the government. There was an excellent book about this written in the late 40s, called "Brave New World", showing how this society would be so much better than our own. If it doesn't sound better to you, ask yourself: how many divorced people do you know, and how many single parents do you know?

    the real conclusion is that women are about to be made obsolete.

    Hopefully, in the natural-childbirth-free future, most or all humans will simply be female. How many female mass murderers have you heard of? How much violent crime is committed by women, compared to men?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 06 2017, @03:52PM (4 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday November 06 2017, @03:52PM (#593116) Journal

      Yes, and this is hopefully how things will be in the future: humans won't have kids at all, and instead, all new humans will be grown artificially in factories, run by the government. There was an excellent book about this written in the late 40s, called "Brave New World", showing how this society would be so much better than our own. If it doesn't sound better to you, ask yourself: how many divorced people do you know, and how many single parents do you know?

      The government could monopolize the technology, or it could be used down at the individual and small group level. It all depends on how cheap it gets and how vigilant people are as we ride into this brave new future.

      Synthetic biology is tough to regulate compared to say, nuclear proliferation.

      Hopefully, in the natural-childbirth-free future, most or all humans will simply be female. How many female mass murderers have you heard of? How much violent crime is committed by women, compared to men?

      It is entirely possible (or at least technically possible) that the world could move in an all-female direction. But it is debatable [soylentnews.org] whether or not eliminating violence is good for the group. Society currently frowns upon the violent tendencies that lead to bottled up rage and mass murder (predominantly among males). But if civilization regresses back to the Dark Ages, violent and strong males will become more valuable, be given plenty of outlets for their rage, and could outcompete females. Don't think it could happen? Civilization regression is one of the many explanations thrown around for the Fermi paradox.

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      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @05:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @05:26PM (#593177)

        Society currently frowns upon the violent tendencies that lead to bottled up rage and mass murder (predominantly among males). But if civilization regresses back to the Dark Ages, violent and strong males will become more valuable, be given plenty of outlets for their rage, and could outcompete females. Don't think it could happen?

        We're already seeing the beginnings of this, it's just that the so-called "progressives" (by which I mean SJW regressives) are too stupid to realise that the light and salvation at the end of their wonder tunnel is commonly called "patriarchy".

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Monday November 06 2017, @05:34PM (2 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday November 06 2017, @05:34PM (#593180)

        But if civilization regresses back to the Dark Ages, violent and strong males will become more valuable, be given plenty of outlets for their rage, and could outcompete females.

        Maybe, it depends on how much regression there is. There's countless women in armed forces units worldwide (just ask the Kurds), so women have proven they're fully able to use violence when they need to, they just don't turn into insane mass-murderers (I can't think of a single incident of this, except for the recent child bride in Pakistan, but she wasn't attempting to murder dozens, just her forced husband, and she used poison; there's also an incident in TX where some woman killed her kids and shot at her husband before the police killed her. But there's no case I've ever heard of of a woman mass-murdering numerous strangers intentionally). And a man's generally superior strength is no match for a .223 round. So as long as people have guns in this dystopian future, men aren't going to have that much of an advantage, if any.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @05:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @05:40PM (#593187)

          But there's no case I've ever heard of of a woman mass-murdering numerous strangers intentionally

          You probably [independent.co.uk] definately [wikipedia.org] have!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07 2017, @04:38AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07 2017, @04:38AM (#593472)

          But there's no case I've ever heard of of a woman mass-murdering numerous strangers intentionally.

          Stories of killer nurses appear regularly. Quite a few of them are women.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Monday November 06 2017, @03:59PM (7 children)

      by looorg (578) on Monday November 06 2017, @03:59PM (#593122)

      Hopefully, in the natural-childbirth-free future, most or all humans will simply be female. How many female mass murderers have you heard of? How much violent crime is committed by women, compared to men?

      Right cause female beings are biologically good? The reason why there are less female serial killers or mass murderers then male counterparts is quite probably that men are better at it. If there was no men there would be women to pick up the slack, not cause there is a quota of death that has to be fulfilled but more likely because the competition just went away. It's hard to compete with a gender that is just biologically superior in traits useful for physical violence such as muscles. If one looks at the plenty of female serial killers and murderers that are out there one finds that most of them don't use physical strength to kill and that they usually prey on people that they know such as children, other family members or people that are old and weak. So if anything women are just much more cruel then men.

      One might as well argue that violence would shrink if there was no women around to trigger the men into action. No wives to beat, no women to rape, a lot less easy prey around to assault.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by number11 on Monday November 06 2017, @05:02PM (6 children)

        by number11 (1170) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 06 2017, @05:02PM (#593164)

        The reason why there are less female serial killers or mass murderers then male counterparts is quite probably that men are better at it. If there was no men there would be women to pick up the slack, not cause there is a quota of death that has to be fulfilled but more likely because the competition just went away. It's hard to compete with a gender that is just biologically superior in traits useful for physical violence such as muscles.

        Eh, these days most killings aren't done with muscles. A female can work an AR-15 just as well as a male, and a .380 pulled from a handbag will kill you just as dead as a .44 Magnum. So why are there fewer female killers (whether multiple or one-off)? Most likely because, like many other species, human females tend to be better socialized than males, and less aggressive. Aggression is well known to be one of the effects of testosterone.

        • (Score: 3, Disagree) by Grishnakh on Monday November 06 2017, @05:23PM (4 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday November 06 2017, @05:23PM (#593174)

          Exactly, I couldn't have said it better myself.

          That aggression served a useful purpose in the distant past, before we invented "civilization" and "law", but as a male, I hate to say it, but we're really obsolete, and don't have any significant advantages over females any more, just giant disadvantages (i.e., tendency to become violent). The incarceration rates are proof of this. The only big advantages I can still see to being male are 1) upper-body strength, which does come in handy for things like opening vacuum-sealed jars or dealing with stuck bolts (though impact wrenches can deal with many of these better than brute strength), or 2) generally taller height which is useful for getting things of the top shelf (but this is waning too; lots of young girls these days are 6 feet).

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @06:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @06:34PM (#593228)

            don't have any significant advantages over females any more, just giant disadvantages (i.e., tendency to become violent).

            Wrong. [wikipedia.org]

            The incarceration rates are proof of this.

            Are they now? ~40% of males in US prisons are black men who make up just ~7% of the general population. ~25% of incarcerated criminals have ASPD from ~5% of the general population. How are males innocent of any wrongdoing accountable for the behaviour of other males? How many gangland wars do you think are (in reality) fought over females? [wikipedia.org]

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @07:00PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @07:00PM (#593250)

            and 3) spiders, nothing like that 3am phone call, eh?

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Monday November 06 2017, @07:03PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 06 2017, @07:03PM (#593252) Journal

            but as a male, I hate to say it, but we're really obsolete, and don't have any significant advantages over females any more, just giant disadvantages (i.e., tendency to become violent).

            The obvious rebuttal here is risk taking. When risk taking is heavily discounted [soylentnews.org], it can be hard to think of why the gender that specializes in risk taking could have value.

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Tuesday November 07 2017, @05:08AM

            by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 07 2017, @05:08AM (#593485) Journal

            Here's a statistic you won't hear very often.

            Mens' prison sentences are 6 times longer than womens' on average, for the same crime.

            That has a non-trivial effect on the gender distribution in prisons.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Monday November 06 2017, @07:57PM

          by looorg (578) on Monday November 06 2017, @07:57PM (#593274)

          You have a very American centric view, guns might be the great equalizer compared to physical strength but strength is always available and an AR-15 (or whatever form of firearm you prefer) is not. In countries without easy access to guns it's still more common for people to beat each other to death, or actually even more common is stabbing someone to death with some form of blade. Even in America you are several times more likely to be stabbed to death then shot by an AR-15. Stabbing doesn't require great physical strength either but it does help since it requires you to be somewhat closer then if you are going to shot someone, unless I guess you stab them when they are a sleep or in the back.

          For female serial killers or mass murders I seem to recall the preferred method is poison or drugs so that doesn't require much strength at all. It could also be a matter of poisoning a male to equalize the physical disadvantage. But all that is really required is the will to kill, and females do have that to.

          The issue in question was that in the post I commented there was a suggestion that the world would be better place if the male of species went away and I seriously doubt that is the case. Women kill, if there is nobody around that is stronger to hold them back whatever makes you believe they wouldn't utilize their abilities. Nothing would stand in their way. This has just touched on biological aspects and not even mention the topic of how or if society or culture turn men into killers. It's not about men killing more for one reason or another, men clearly are. The question could be why are not women doing it more or what is making men do it more often. But still I don't really buy into the idea of an all peaceful female future utopia.

          https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-12 [fbi.gov]
          Just looking quickly at the FBI stats for murder. There is still a lot of people getting beaten to death by hands. Lots of stabbings. The only real reason gun violence is so high in the murder rate is handguns. The AR-15, or rifle, killings are rare. For mass-murder it might be an obvious choice, cause if you gotta kill a fuckton of people you don't want to have to stand around and reload all the time. So it's really more about magazine size and a high rate of fire in that case then anything else.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @05:58PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @05:58PM (#593200)

      You don't hear about female mass murderers (or scientists, etc.) simply because women tend not to accomplish very much, either good or bad.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @11:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06 2017, @11:00PM (#593344)

        maybe their secretly trolling the internets with inflammatory coments but u just don't know it?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07 2017, @05:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07 2017, @05:34AM (#593503)

      Brave New World was published in 1932.

  • (Score: 2) by DutchUncle on Monday November 06 2017, @06:37PM (1 child)

    by DutchUncle (5370) on Monday November 06 2017, @06:37PM (#593230)

    No, this doesn't "obsolete" women any more than machine power "obsoletes" male musculature. We still need male and female ingredients. :-) It should just further lower the risks and impacts of bearing children on any particular members of society. Rather than the negatives of "Brave New World", I'd hope for Lois McMaster Bujold's projection of the "uterine replicator" changing society for the better by avoiding almost all of the risk associated with pregnancy and childbirth, allowing women to continue working productively for the time they would have been pregnant, and even avoiding birth stress on the infant. It's surrogacy without involving/risking another human. Allowing the capability of different genetic mixes (two males, two females, whatever) and/or gene editing is a separate social/ethical/scientific issue.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 06 2017, @06:56PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday November 06 2017, @06:56PM (#593242) Journal

      No, this doesn't "obsolete" women any more than machine power "obsoletes" male musculature. We still need male and female ingredients.

      The combination of artificial womb and synthetic embryo technology would absolutely make women obsolete. Any amount of male and female children (including zero males or zero females if that's your policy) could be produced without the need for sex or pregnant women. Once you sequence a few women (or hundreds of thousands [genomicsengland.co.uk] to millions), you have all the data you need to endlessly create synthetic embryos with desired alleles. You could also just sequence men since they have both an X and a Y chromosome.

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