| BioEdge | Sunday, March 26, 2017
Another dispatch from the Wild West of assisted reproduction. “Husband Gave Birth To His First Child After Wife Was Unable To Fall Pregnant” was the irresistible headline in the Huffington Post UK.
However, it turns out that instead of being a pregnant truck driver, a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1994 film Junior, the husband is a transgender man. The couple are actually lesbians, who married in 2013 in Ohio: Chris Rehs-Dupin and Amy.
After Amy’s five failed attempts at artificial insemination, Chris volunteered to carry the baby. Although she was living as a man, she had not had sex-change surgery and still had her reproductive organs. “We were fortunate enough to have two uteruses,” they told the Daily Mail. Their daughter Hayden was born in December 2014. (No mention was made of the biological father.)
The pregnancy shook Chris’s decision to live as a man. “Being pregnant is such a female thing and that's when I started to question that it was not what I was.” Amy tried to breastfeed their daughter, but Chris eventually had to. However, she persevered with her male identity after the birth. She is thinking of having a double mastectomy but not “bottom surgery” as she does not want to rule out the possibility of bearing another child.
In the meantime, Amy fell pregnant after another attempt at artificial insemination. They would like to have a third child.
A number of the eminences of Silicon Valley are besotted with immortality. Google, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are a just a few names amongst the many who want to do away with death, or at least add a few decades, or even a few hundred years, to their lifespans.
Even if this is achievable, is this desirable?
British sci-fi author and futurist Paul Graham Raven has written a blistering demolition of the transhumanist project. (Hat-tip to Wired.) It is basically a philosophy for selfish (and mostly white) rich guys, he suggests.
it turns out that technologies which extend, augment or otherwise improve human life are already here! You may have heard of some of them: clean water; urban sanitation; smokeless cooking facilities; free access to healthcare; a guaranteed minimum income; a good, free education. There are more – and you’d be surprised how many of them have been around in one form or another for decades, even centuries! But they’re unevenly distributed at the moment, so the first agenda item for all transhumanists should be looking for ways to get these technologies to everyone on the planet as soon as possible
But that is unlikely to happen. In their single-minded focus on maximising their own welfare, dedicated transhumanists are deaf to the needs of the society: “You look after yourself, I’ll look after me; what could be fairer than that?” Raven writes caustically. Come to think of it, this critique of personal autonomy could be applied to a number of other areas in bioethics.
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