There was a time when only women could have babies.
But that’s quickly changing just as much as the notion that men go out and work while women look after the kids, or that women are homemakers and can’t have frontline jobs like firefighter or soldier.
It’s all thanks to rapid advances in medical science, which has ended up with the amazing statement this week that a man could become pregnant pretty soon.
In fact, according to a leading fertility expert, men could become pregnant “tomorrow” thanks to advances in womb transplantation.
The success of womb transplants into women has paved the way for this similar operation to be carried out on people who were born male.
In recent years, women who were born without a womb due to hereditary conditions, have received transplants, carried babies and given birth all thanks to womb transplants.
But now fertility expert Dr Richard Paulson says that since wombs have been successfully transplanted into women born without them, trans women – people born biologically male who have undergone sex change surgery because they identify as females – will also be suitable recipients for womb transplants.
Also, there have been astounding advances in artificial wombs recently.
This means that it’s probably going to become possible to grow a fetus inside a person who was not actually born with a womb soon.
It will come as exciting news for anybody who was born without reproductive organs, without working organs, or for trans women who want to carry their own babies.
Dr Paulson has also said that scientifically speaking, there’s no reason why we won’t see a man falling pregnant some time soon.
“This would allow them to carry a baby – and there was no scientific reason why it would not happen,” he added.
In recent months, there have been many reports of trans men having babies – people who were born female whose gender is now different to the one they were born with, but still have functioning wombs.
Dr Paulson is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and has made his controversial prediction at the society’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas this week.
When asked whether men having babies was “pie in the sky”, he said: “You are talking about trans women. Someone who started out as a man, who became a woman.
“There would be additional challenges, but I don’t see any obvious problem that would preclude it. I think it would be possible.”
When he was asked exactly when someone who was born male could have a uterus transplanted into their body, Dr Paulson said: ‘They could do it tomorrow.’
But even though it COULD happen tomorrow, it probably won’t.
That’s because Dr Paulson also added: “It’s still a very complicated procedure. It’s a huge team, it’s not something somebody can do in a community hospital and just get it done.”
Dr Paulson explained at the conference that one problem is that the male pelvis would not allow a baby to pass through it because it is too narrow. So even if a man did fall pregnant, the only way for them to give birth would be by caesarean section.
But experts think that there is room inside a male body to hold a womb, and Dr Paulson said hormones might have to be given to replicate the changes that a woman’s body go through during pregnancy.
Once a uterus has been transplanted from a donor during a ten-hour operation, an IVF embryo would then have to be implanted into the man’s body. Dr Paulson said the field of ‘trans medicine’ has now “reached the mainstream”, adding: “I suspect there are going to be trans women who want to have a uterus and will likely get the transplant”.
Womb transplant is still a pretty experimental procedure. And also, implanting an embryo in a man is also illegal in many countries. In the UK for example, it would be illegal for an IVF clinic to create an embryo for the purpose of implanting it in a man under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.
An international agreement, The Montreal Protocol, also say that womb transplants should only be carried out in biological women.
Some experts have warned that although male pregnancy is medically possible, the psychological impact on any child born this way could be great, and something that we just don’t understand yet.
While the person who falls pregnant might be psychologically ready, there’s no telling what effect it will have on their children in years to come.
So what do you think? Is male pregnancy a good thing, or has the world gone mad? Let us know with a COMMENT, and don’t forget to SHARE this article to keep the debate going.