domingo, 24 de enero de 2016

BioEdge: Male pregnancy a real possibility

BioEdge: Male pregnancy a real possibility

Male pregnancy a real possibility

The idea of male pregnancy was once reserved for comedy (remember the pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior?) or trash TV shows about bearded transgender men using their own wombs and donated sperm. Yet some now think childbearing for biological males is only five or ten years away.

Researchers based at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden successfully transplanted a womb into a 36-year-old woman in 2013 and in 2015 that woman gave birth to a healthy boy. The researchers are confident that the procedure can be refined and administered to many more women in the future.

Could it perhaps be administered to a man, asked Dr David Warmflash, a physician and science writer, in a recent Genetic Literacy Project blog post.

“The logical progression before one transplants a uterus into a man, or a former man, is to transplant one into a woman. That step has been achieved… unlike with a male patient, a female patient has the needed blood supply for a uterus present… a naturally-born female is a more biologically compatible recipient for a donated womb than someone who was born male, even if no-longer male externally… That said, there’s no technological or medical reason why a man could not receive a donated uterus. While there are no uterine vessels or pelvic ligaments to connect, such structures could be created.”
Would there be a demand for such a procedure? “I’d bet just about every transgender person who is female will want to do it, if it were covered by insurance,” says Dr Christine McGinn, a plastic surgeon, a consultant on the Oscar-nominated film The Danish Girl. “The human drive to be a mother for a woman is a very serious thing. Transgender women are no different.”

But probably only wealthy transgender people. The bill could be well over US$1 million. Insurance companies are unlikely to pick up the tab. “It’s a class issue; you’ll only have wealthy people able to do this,” says Dr McGinn
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The Atlantic recently published a feature about the early days of artificial reproductive technology. The headline was: “The First Artificial Insemination Was an Ethical Nightmare: The 19th-century procedure involved lies, a secrecy pledge, and sperm from a surprise donor”.
It turns out that the first pregnancy with artificial insemination (at least in the US) was in 1855 in New York but it ended in a miscarriage. The first successful pregnancy with the same method took place in Philadelphia in 1884.
The patient was a married woman whose husband was infertile because of venereal disease. Without seeking the consent of either husband or wife, the doctor anaesthetised her and inseminated her with the sperm of one of his medical students. The women never discovered the truth and the students were sworn to secrecy.
However, when her baby was a 25-year-old businessman one of the students published his recollections of the event (after contacting the child). As far as he was concerned, artificial insemination was a eugenic boon, “a race-uplifting procedure”, which would produce children of “wonderful mental endowments” instead of “half-witted, evil-inclined, disease-disposed offspring”.
The author of the article in The Atlantic was amused by the old-fashioned lies, secrecy and donor anonymity. But has any of that changed? Most children born from contemporary reproductive technologies are “genetic orphans”. Most parents shop for donors who will confer “wonderful mental endowments” upon their offspring. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Michael Cook

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by Xavier Symons | Jan 23, 2016
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But only for married couples.

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Right-to-life campaigners have found a new cause.
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