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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 bradley13 on Monday November 06 2017, @03:51PM

    by bradley13 (3053) on Monday November 06 2017, @03:51PM (#593115) Homepage Journal

    While your second paragraph is needlessly inflammatory, I completely agree with the first one. Uterus transplants are also inappropriate for cisgendered women.

    For that matter, I submit that there is a more general problem with people who spend years and zillions of dollars on ever-more-extreme fertility treatments. Becoming utterly obsessed with one's (in)ability to have children - after a certain point, it's all about the parents and no longer about the (potential) kids. If someone is that obsessed, they may just be mentally ill: Psychiatric Illness and Infertility: Cause or Effect? [womensmentalhealth.org]

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