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The "womb transplant breakthrough"

(47 Posts)
hackmum Thu 06-Dec-18 16:08:55

Well done, Guardian, on getting a man to write about what womb transplants mean for women:

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 06-Dec-18 16:13:33

You can't make it up can you.

And if the article is already being written and discussed by men how long until the whole thing is taken over by men.

We all know where this is going and it's not ethical

GodThisIsShit Thu 06-Dec-18 16:30:38

Any male-bodied person reading this who might want to experience the sensations of childbirth, call me, I can arrange for you to shit a bowling ball ...

hackmum Thu 06-Dec-18 16:55:01

I thought only someone totally clueless could write a sentence like:

"By making pregnancy potentially available to trans women and even to cis men (with hormone treatments), uterus transplants could challenge social norms and preconceptions, just as IVF has done by creating new family structures."

So I looked him up. It turns out he has an impressive CV, including 20 years at Nature, a degree in chemistry from Oxford and a PhD in physics from Bristol. No biology, obviously, but even so I'd have thought someone with that amount of experience in writing about science would understand that the likelihood of scientists being able to transplant a uterus into a man, and a man then being able to use it to gestate a baby, is small to the point of impossible. It's quite depressing, really.

bakingdemon Thu 06-Dec-18 17:01:04

A 'science writer' who is apparently unaware of the skeletal differences between men and women that make it exceedingly unlikely that someone born male could ever carry a child.

feelingverylazytoday Thu 06-Dec-18 17:06:16

I stopped reading when I came to the words 'all sexes'. It should be 'both'.

Knicknackpaddyflak Thu 06-Dec-18 17:15:26

Since when has giving birth to a child been in order to challenge social norms? The child never appears anywhere in this narrative, nor does the desire to parent, or to have a family, or how responsible it is to make extreme medical experimentation on your body the precursor for becoming a parent and how the child might be affected, it's just a wanted experience. Cos unfair.

We're talking about children. Human beings. The central issue is what is in their best interests, not the right of a male to have a foetus tortured as a prop in their self expression. I want a fucking sign board, painted with large letters stating EVERYTHING IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.

Lottapianos Thu 06-Dec-18 17:17:24

I saw this article this morning and thought of you lot grin I don't know what to say except what a pile of utter horseshit from start to finish

Iused2BanOptimist Thu 06-Dec-18 17:50:34

My thoughts exactly Knicknack

FlibbertyGiblets Thu 06-Dec-18 18:07:53

And you know what else?

Transplant is correct as it is medical tissue even though as I am shouting IT IS A FKING IMPLANT YOU NUMBNUT so that battle is lost already. Fuming.

Bowlofbabelfish Thu 06-Dec-18 18:10:48

Transwomen and even c** men?

As though there’s some kind of vast biological difference.

Where is the child in all of this? Where is their safety? The Uk has thankfully very sensible laws on what you can and cannot do with embryos. And you cannot implant one into a man.

Babies are not validation devices for paraphilias.

hackmum Thu 06-Dec-18 18:18:31

As though there’s some kind of vast biological difference.

I thought that, and then thought, maybe his meaning is not that there's a biological difference between the two, but that even "cis men" as well as trans women might want to go through pregnancy.

All bollocks, of course.

merrymouse Thu 06-Dec-18 19:52:59

"By making pregnancy potentially available to trans women and even to cis men (with hormone treatments), uterus transplants could challenge social norms and preconceptions, just as IVF has done by creating new family structures."

I'm just impressed that he thinks that this as yet non existent technology will change social norms. I wasn't even aware that IVF had challenged social norms.

In 2011 it was estimated that 80% of the world lived on less that ten dollars a day - should Bill and Melinda Gates cancel their family planning initiatives in Sub Saharan Africa given that apparently science has moved on and men are going to be having babies?

Or perhaps is he just looking at this from the perspective of the very small number of people in the world who could even begin to think about paying for this kind of operation, if it existed.

53rdWay Thu 06-Dec-18 20:53:33

I wouldn’t underestimate just how clueless many men are about pregnancy and birth, no matter what degrees they’ve got. Sadly.

GirlDownUnder Fri 07-Dec-18 06:06:42

Well, maybe transwomen and c** men will need to give birth as we seem to be sterilising all the chirldren ffs

MsJeminaPuddleduck Fri 07-Dec-18 07:23:19

How has IVF created new family structures?

Does he mean that single women or lesbian couples can now have babies? .. but they always did. If this is all he means then it's just a more preferable way of doing what women have been doing for a long time

howlsmovingcastle84 Fri 07-Dec-18 08:30:56

What's going to happen to this implanted uterus when it's not being used for a pregnancy? How is the body going to react? Surely the recipient will have to be on immunosuppresant drugs for life. Being on these drugs makes pregnancy more risky, so all pregnancies using an implanted uterus would be considered high-risk and need extra care and intervention. What happens if the uterus is rejected during a pregnancy?

I'm sure all these questions have been thoroughly considered...

KinCat Fri 07-Dec-18 08:42:36

howlsmovingcastle84 normal procedure, I believe, is to wait a few months after the transplant procedure when I guess risk of rejection is lessened. After the baby is removed the womb is removed as well and immunosuppressants can be ceased.

I'm not sure how it would work in a man. Do they have the right ligaments and blood vessels to support a pregnancy?

PreseaCombatir Fri 07-Dec-18 08:45:44

And these uterus’ are all coming from... where exactly?!?

KinCat Fri 07-Dec-18 08:50:24

Just usual organ donors PreseaCombatir now a dead donor has been shown to be effective (previously only live donations have been done). Trans men have been posited as a possible source of live donors, grotesque as that sounds.

This article suggests it is probably a long way off before this procedure would be attempted in a man.

merrymouse Fri 07-Dec-18 08:56:55

And these uterus’ are all coming from... where exactly?!?

Sadly I think there are desperate people who would be prepared to sell a womb - after all people sell kidneys.

However I still think there is a limit to the number of people who would be able to pay for the surgery and treatment.

KinCat Fri 07-Dec-18 08:59:43

LM should start the pregnancy fund now probably...

howlsmovingcastle84 Fri 07-Dec-18 09:03:14

Research that has looked at the sex of organ donors and organ recipients has shown that when men receive organs from women the chances of rejection are higher (this is not seen when women receive organs from male donors) . This is another factor that would have to be considered as a uterus would always have to come from a women.

KinCat Fri 07-Dec-18 09:10:52

howlsmovingcastle84 that's interesting - I wonder why it's not the other way around.

I read somewhere that of all the uterus transplants that have produced a pregnancy so far they were in a woman with a vagina. The women who had vaginas constructed out of bowel or other tissue weren't able to sustain a pregnancy. Of course with a dead donor you could transplant the vagina too but who knows what other biological factors are important for sustaining pregnancy.

howlsmovingcastle84 Fri 07-Dec-18 09:37:37

It's still developing science but it seems those pesky chromosomes are involved again-with the X chromosome carrying more immunological functions than the Y chromosome.
There would be so many factors to consider if a male was to attempt to sustain a pregnancy. The reason a woman's body does not reject a developing baby as a foreign object is due to the genes that would normally cause the immune response being 'turned off' at the site of implantation. This process would also have to occur in men if they are to carry a baby to full-term.

merrymouse Fri 07-Dec-18 09:54:27

Meanwhile 2.4 billion people don’t have access to toilets that adequately separate waste, yet apparently the possibility of womb transplants is going to change what it means to be a woman.

So much of the narrative around hormones and surgery assumes a ‘western’ standard of healthcare, that isn’t even universally available in the west.

Can’t help thinking it would make little difference to the majority of humans with the kind of body that produces eggs.

KinCat Fri 07-Dec-18 10:19:44

howlsmovingcastle84 interesting, that must be linked in some way to the increased likelihood of women suffering autoimmune diseases.

I guess whether the baby would be rejected by a man would depend whether the immune privelige granted to the foetus is a local or systemic response. I would think it's systemic as women are more vulnerable to illnesses like flu during pregnancy. I guess the immunosuppressants to prevent rejection of the womb would possibly serve to prevent rejection of the baby as well.

Wrybread Fri 07-Dec-18 10:24:58

I've just gone to the organ donor site and filled in the form to say that I refuse to be a donor.

You used to be able to opt out of donating certain organs, but it seems you can't do that anymore, so sadly, I'm opting out completely. 😕

R0wantrees Fri 07-Dec-18 10:47:09

Some data and background from a UK Charity:

"Why the Need for Womb Transplants?
There are many thousands of women in the UK who either do not have a viable womb or who have had their womb removed following cancer or another serious illness. Here are a few facts:

One in every 5000 women in the UK is born without a womb.
In 2007 alone there were 2,200 women aged between 15 and 44 who were born without a womb.
In the 15 to 24 year old age group in the UK, around a thousand young women have hysterectomies every year.
Hysterectomy is still a commonly performed procedure for the treatment of cervical cancer – many of these cancer victims have not completed their families when they have their wombs taken away.
Occasionally, women who are delivering a baby may suffer from a life threatening bleed (post-partum haemorrhage). One or two women in every hundred have their womb taken away because no other measure is able to stop the bleeding. Overall in the UK around 15,000 women of child bearing age have no womb.

Not having a womb is called Absolute Uterine/Womb Factor Infertility."

merrymouse Fri 07-Dec-18 10:56:17

wrybread, while I agree that more clarity is needed, the chances of your uterus being donated after death to a man are currently non existent in the U.K., and I doubt that other countries use the U.K. database.

VickyEadie Fri 07-Dec-18 11:13:46

the chances of your uterus being donated after death to a man are currently non existent in the U.K

Might it be used for such research and experimentation, however?

merrymouse Fri 07-Dec-18 11:17:13

I think donation for medical research is different to organ donation to a living person.

happydappy2 Fri 07-Dec-18 11:33:11

I think most men would rather use a surrogate to produce a baby, rather than undergo surgery with side affects...But is there actually a law preventing a Dr attempting to do this on an individual man with dubious mental health?

R0wantrees Fri 07-Dec-18 12:14:34

But is there actually a law preventing a Dr attempting to do this on an individual man

Ethics & regulation in the UK would likely reject this because of the impact on the foetus.

Outside of the UK, regulation frameworks differ.
In some countries the 'rights' of the man and the challenge for medics will have stronger influence.

Terfing Fri 07-Dec-18 12:31:23

This "scientist" is having a laugh surely?

Personally, I think that the uterus transplant story is bollocks.

Bittermints Fri 07-Dec-18 14:48:34 NibblyPig just started a thread about this BBC World Service podcast on the topic of whether a baby could ever be gestated in an artificial womb. I'm not a scientist, but on my reading of what was said, the answer is no, not any time soon. Far too many complex problems to overcome before they could be sure of being able to recreate what most women's bodies can do naturally. Huge risk of infection, no way currently of providing a blood/nutrient supply and I was pleased to hear acknowledgement of the importance of bonding between mother and baby during the pregnancy and the pressure it would put on ambitious young women not to go through a natural pregnancy but to have an artificial one instead (if the science ever got there), just as apparently some are now succumbing to pressure to have their eggs harvested while young in preparation for having IVF once their careers are established in middle life.

1hello2hello Fri 07-Dec-18 15:00:00

You used to be able to opt out of donating certain organs, but it seems you can't do that anymore, so sadly, I'm opting out completely. If this is correct it needs to be widely announced. The form that went out with driving licences gave options over all organs/none/some. Are those preferences still valid?

Wrybread Fri 07-Dec-18 18:03:49

I'm not sure. Certainly when I was trying to change things online I couldn't find anything that allowed me to do it

Bowlofbabelfish Fri 07-Dec-18 18:09:09

There will be artificial external wombs (some work done already with premature lambs in incubator bags) before we can sustain a pregnancy in a Male.

Not going to happen any time soon. No space, no vasculature, no support ligaments. The female body compensates for the foetus in many ways - increasing blood volume, for example. The womb isn’t a plug and play item you can shove anywhere, it’s the sharp end of an entire physiological system working in harmony.

I suspect like PPs have mentioned men wouldn’t be able to cope with the immune changes either.

The very idea shows how little men think of and truly understand pregnancy and the female body. They think ‘baby grows in womb, so if there’s a womb I can have a baby.’ They don’t understand that the womb is just one part of the complex system.

It will be less of a technical challenge to create an artificial womb than to have a man gestate and give birth

merrymouse Fri 07-Dec-18 18:17:45

Far too many complex problems to overcome before they could be sure of being able to recreate what most women's bodies can do naturally.

And given that the world has no shortage of babies, why would you do it?

I think the argument for IVF and other fertility treatments (including womb transplants for women who e.g. have had a hysterectomy because of cancer) is that you are fixing something that is supposed to work in a particular way but isn't.

This is more like giving somebody bionic vision, but with huge risks.

Materialist Fri 07-Dec-18 19:11:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AspieAndProud Fri 07-Dec-18 20:40:25

I’m still trying to figure out just where a uterus would fit into a male body — are their intestines coiled a little loosely and can be bunched up together, or their bladders a little too expansive and can be smooshed down, or maybe the kidneys spread a bit apart?

This short documentary should answer your questions.

KittiesInsane Fri 07-Dec-18 22:38:10

I feel like I’ve read a different article from everyone else! What I took away from it was the message that womb transplants and the possibilities that they raise are far from being a neutral medical issue and need careful consideration - not ‘wahey, wombs for men!’

I’ll admit I’m biased here, as I know Phil Ball of old, follow his career with some interest and like him very much. Anyone further from being a numb nuts is hard to imagine - (and to quote a former colleague, he ‘probably walks on water in his spare time’).

I do think he may have a slight otherworldly assumption that everyone else is as basically nice as he is, though.

CalmConfident Fri 07-Dec-18 22:45:27

If you have not listened to it yet I highly recommend tracks a radio 4 drans about science, fertility and conspiracy. Series 3 is fab as BD touches on these areas

ABitCrapper Fri 07-Dec-18 22:52:55

kitties that's how I read it as well

Materialist Sat 08-Dec-18 03:01:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HumberElla Sat 08-Dec-18 03:39:18

And where will the funds for all this research come from? Be interesting to see who will support the development work for this. Research cost will be massive and big pharma et al will want returns to that investment.

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