“Transplant into a trans-female is essentially identical to that of a cis-female.”
A renowned British plastic surgeon says he’s almost ready to give transgender women womb transplants, and the male-to-female community is abuzz.
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What’s new: Christopher Inglefield, a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and founder of the London Transgender Clinic, told the UK Mirror on Friday that it should be “illegal” to deny a trans woman a uterus transplant given the recent success of the procedure.
In December, a woman in Brazil with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor successfully gave to a baby. It was an international first, and according to Inglefield, of momentous significance to transgender women.
‘This pioneering birth is extremely important for any trans female who would like to carry her own child,” he said. “Because once the medical community accept this as a treatment for cis-women with uterine infertility, such as congenital absence of a womb, then it would be illegal to deny a trans-female who has completed her transition.”
Anatomically speaking, Inglefield argued that the two operations — on a cis-female and on a biological male — would be nearly “identical.”
“There are clearly anatomical boundaries when it comes to trans women but these are problems that I believe can be surmounted and the transplant into a trans-female is essentially identical to that of a cis-female,” he said.
The technical details: “The donor vessels are connected to the pelvic artery and veins which are the same in both males and females. With a uterus transplant in a trans-female, the neovaginal would be opened at the pelvic end to accept the donor womb,” explained the cosmetician, who won the 2013 Lifetime Aesthetic Awards’ Lifetime Achievement prize.
“Trans females have a much narrower pelvis than cis-women of the same height, but there would still be room for them to carry a child,” he said. “Supplemental hormones could be taken to replicate the changes that occur in the body when a woman is pregnant.”
The fine print: Due to limited capacity, warned the doctor, “it’s highly unlikely that a trans female would give birth naturally, but would be delivered via Caesarian section in order to safeguard the child.”
Excitement: The transgender community is closely following these developments. In the subreddit r/MtF, devoted to trans-women’s issues, commenters were energized by the Inglefield’s remarks, even daring to look further into the future.
“Theoretically, we are already at the ‘grown your own organs’ stage,” said u/StarryNotions. “We can take a device and effectively 3D print (or duplicate an existing) vagina or penis as a collagen scaffold, take donor cells, create stem cells from them, trigger specific growth via laser, introduce those cells to the collagen scaffold so they grow into the proper shape, and then attach the organ… The tech exists. We just need to perfect and refine both the medical and the ethical facets. What a time to be alive.”
In recent years, a growing number of physicians around the world have rallied behind the possibility of enabling transgender women to give birth.
“I personally suspect there are going to be trans women who are going to want to have a uterus and will likely get the transplant,” Richard Paulson, the former president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, told the Telegraph in 2017. “You could do it tomorrow. There would be additional challenges, but I don’t see any obvious problem that would preclude it.”
Pushback: The rapidity of medical advancements in the field are disquieting some bioethicists, including New York University School of Medicine professor Arthur Caplan.
“Surgically, could you put [a uterus] in a man tomorrow? Yeah, but it would be completely irresponsible,” he asked in an interview with the LiveScience website focused on Inglefield’s work. Caplan cited unknown medical risks that require further study before performing what would be an experimental operation.
Moreover, some critics have suggested that society has yet to fully consider the implications of eradicating the biological distinction between men and women. But as both scientific and cultural advancements pave the way to the fuller acceptance of transgender people, these concerns have often been dismissed as bigotry (and in Britain may even constitute a prosecutable offense).
Read more: Radical feminists are rallying to stop Nancy Pelosi’s pro-transgender bill.
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