The "womb transplant breakthrough"(47 Posts)
Well done, Guardian, on getting a man to write about what womb transplants mean for women:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
I'm not sure. Certainly when I was trying to change things online I couldn't find anything that allowed me to do it
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?
www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswvxh 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.
This "scientist" is having a laugh surely?
Personally, I think that the uterus transplant story is bollocks.
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.
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?
I think donation for medical research is different to organ donation to a living person.
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?
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.
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." wombtransplantuk.org/about/why
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. 😕
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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