Pregnancy Could Soon Be A Reality For Men And Transgender Women
Females may soon lose their status as the only sex with the ability to carry children — male pregnancy could become a reality in as soon as five years.
In theory, men and transgender women could receive a uterus transplant allowing them to carry a baby to term and give birth — all thanks to medical advancements in reproductive transplant surgery, writes Stuff.
“My guess is five, 10 years away, maybe sooner,” Dr Karine Chung, director of the fertility preservation program at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, told Yahoo Health.
Men’s physiology has traditionally meant that they lack an environment suitable to house a fetus during a pregnancy, but modern medicine is rapidly catching up.
“Today, medical advances let transgender women adjust their biochemistry to suppress male and introduce female hormones, have breasts that can lactate, and obtain surgically constructed vaginas that include a ‘neoclitoris’, which allows sensation,” says Chung.
The catalyst behind the idea was the occurrence of the first uterus transplants performed by the Cleveland Clinic in the US last week. The procedure is intended for women born without a uterus or suffering from uterus-related complications.
According to researchers, the surgery is “still considered highly experimental”. So far, a Swedish research team from the University of Gothenberg has performed nine uterus transplants resulting in five pregnancies and four live births.
“The exciting work from the investigators in Sweden demonstrated that uterine transplantation can result in the successful delivery of healthy infants,” said Cleveland Clinic lead investigator Andreas Tzakis.
The surgery is complicated and there are dangers involved, but for many women the benefits are worth the risks – something that could also be true for a number of men and transgender women in future.
“I’d bet just about every transgender person who is female will want to do it, if it were covered by insurance,” Dr Christine McGinn, a US plastic surgeon who performs transgender surgeries on men and women, told Yahoo.
There are still a number of problems that will need to be overcome in order to achieve male pregnancy, including the lack of pelvic ligaments to support the presence of a uterus, a cervix, as well as transplanting an embryo into a transplanted womb without building a vagina. However, these issues do not mean that it will be an impossible undertaking.
“Male and female anatomy is not that different,” says Chung. “Probably at some point, somebody will figure out how to make that work.”