Popularizing Uterus Transplants into Biological Males


3d rendered illustration of an x-ray of the uterus on a blue background. ( fruttipics/Getty Images)

The “patriach of bioethics” was a man named Joseph Fletcher. A former Episopal priest turned atheist, he was a wild utilitarian for which virtually nothing was inherently wrong. In his last book, he pitched the then unthinkable idea that uteruses could be transplanted into men, writing back in 1988:

Transplant or replacement medicine foresees the day, after the automatic rejection of alien tissue is overcome, when a uterus can be implanted in a human male’s body—his abdomen has spaces—and gestation started by artificial fertilization and egg transfer.

Hypogonadism could be used to stimulate milk from the man’s rudimentary breasts—men too have mammary glands. If surgery could not construct a cervical canal the delivery could be effected by a Caesarean section and the male or transsexualized mother could nurse his own baby.

Fletcher wasn’t crazy, just ahead of his time (except for the use of the masculine pronoun).

Advocacy in bioethics has continued to touch on this subject, a few even calling it a fundamental human right for a biological male to receive a uterine transplant, gestate, and give birth.

Now, the idea is following the usual progressive political formula, moving from academic discourse into left-wing popular media advocacy. From an article just published in Salon:

Eyvazzadeh added that the risks and cost do not mean the transplant won’t become a more common operation in the future. Surprisingly, she thinks uterus transplants could become an option for an unexpected population: men.

“I predict with our aging population, and the rise of infertility, we will need men to share the burden of growing our population,” Eyvazzadeh said. “While some people may think this is far-fetched, it is not for the near future; I predict in maybe 200 years from now, it will be a reality.”

Transgender female patients will also be another group of people to benefit from the research into uterus transplants.

“Transgender females are also good candidates,” Eyvazzadeh said. “I am not aware of a transgender female having a uterine transplant yet.” Indeed, many doctors believe a uterus transplant could work for a transgender woman.

However, as with most surgeries and procedures that involve a uterus, Eyvazzadeh said to “absolutely” expect many future debates.

“Anytime a treatment involves a woman’s uterus, there will definitely be a debate especially when it involves IVF,” Eyvazzadeh said. “As with all new technology, they will get safer and more effective and ultimately more cost effective.”

I want us to notice a few things.

  • There is absolutely no discussion or concern of the impact on the baby — both with regard to safety and socially. I mean, do we not think that women’s biology beyond the uterus has any impact on the baby’s thriving? Are we going to say that having a “mother” who is biologically male would not impact the child’s social development?
  • There is no discussion about the primary societal purposes and limitations of medicine. The sector is increasingly viewed as a means of attaining life satisfaction and facilitating personal fulfillment, as much as promoting wellness and curing disease (starting, in my view, with cosmetic surgery and moving on from there). This has an impact on available medical resources for other necessaries. Bodily recreationism of males giving birth would materially add to this growing problem.
  • There are no moral boundaries that some don’t want to cross anymore. The impact of such social anarchy and collapse of norms beyond “anything goes” is hard to predict.
  • The transgender movement is evolving into an a subversion of the unique contributions women make to society. Mothering is too important to allow the social anarchists to distort its importance to children and the formation of families.
  • What kind of unethical research and experiments would be required to make males giving birth even workable? We already have witnessed cruelty to animals in an experiment in which researchers enabled male rats to give birth by surgically attaching them to females. Think of the other animal research that would be required to perfect the procedure and then, the human experimentation necessary to get all of the hormones and other necessaries of gestation right. This should be simply beyond contemplating.

We are so becoming so morally and socially paralized that we can’t even say “no” to the most bizarre and unnatural proposals anymore. Enabling males to give birth is not a proper role for medicine. Learning how to do it would be an abuse of the purposes of science. And it would be immoral social policy.

The idea should be rejected out of hand and no resources invested for the research required to effectuate the nightmare.

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