Transgender women who were born male should be given womb transplants so that they can have children, leading NHS doctors have told The Mail on Sunday.
And fertility experts say taxpayers should fund such transplants for those who identify as women, on the basis of ‘equality enshrined in law’.
Leading the debate on the controversial procedure is medical ethics lawyer Dr Amel Alghrani, who is pressing for a talks on whether womb transplants for trans-women should be publicly funded.
Dr Alghrani, of Liverpool University, also predicts that a successful programme would lead to others demanding wombs – including gay and straight men who wanted to experience ‘the joys’ of carrying a child.
But critics say the NHS should not waste precious resources merely to allow trans-women to pursue an ‘authentic female experience’.
Women’s campaigner Laura Perrins said: ‘Most taxpayers will not think this is a good use of resources. It raises profound ethical and moral issues that will have an impact on women’s rights. It will impinge on the meaning of motherhood and womanhood.’
However, gynaecologists are increasingly convinced that implanting a donor womb into a person born with male organs is possible, with one top doctor saying it is just a decade away. They believe the recent success of ‘uterine transplantation’ in women born without wombs has drawn it a step closer.
Since 2014, at least five babies have been born to womb-less women after receiving donor wombs in a series of pioneering operations at Gothenburg University in Sweden.
Later this year British doctors hope to start their own charity-funded programme to give donor wombs to at least three UK women.
It is the remarkable success of the Swedish team that has triggered calls by transgender women for them to receive womb transplants too.
And now some NHS doctors are backing their demands.Consultant gynaecologist Dr Arianna D’Angelo, of the NHS’s Wales Fertility Institute, said it was right from an ‘ethical point of view’.
‘We already have fertility preservation for transgender people, to give them the possibility to have their own genetic child,’ she said.
‘So I don’t see much of a difference between that and actually delivering their own child.’ Dr Francoise Shelfield, a clinical lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at University College London, who has treated infertile NHS patients for 30 years, added her support.
‘If we are saying we should have equality and we have legislation [defending the rights of transgender people], I do not see why not,’ she said.
Their rights to equal treatment, she noted, were ‘actually enshrined in legislation’.
WOMBS FOR MEN: COMMENT FROM FEMINIST CAMPAIGNER JULIE BINDEL
The prospect of wombs being transplanted into transgender women so they can have babies may seem perfectly reasonable to those who see procreation as a right for all women.
But those born male who are dosed with female hormones and undergo cosmetic surgery in order to present as female will never be women.
Trans-women pushing for womb transplants on the NHS are driven by a desire to experience childbirth, because it is considered to be an authentic female experience. But this is not about transgender rights – it’s about a twisted notion as to what constitutes a ‘real woman’.
This procedure suggests that you can create a woman in a test tube or through a surgeon’s knife.
All of the oppression women have been through because of lack of childcare and issues over maternity leave will be pushed aside over whether celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner should have a womb transplant.
Let’s be clear: this is a lifestyle choice, not a health issue. And quite frankly, I’m not sure if men will make good mothers.
The doctors’ calls come as Hayden Cross, the first British female-to-male transsexual to become pregnant, is due to give birth. Mr Cross, 21, from Gloucester, who was born Paige, put his sex-change on hold last year so he could have a baby – doing so with sperm from an online donor.
Professor Steven Weyers, of Ghent University Hospital, in Belgium, is starting a womb transplant programme involving 20 women later this year. He said he believed transplants for trans-women would happen in ‘maybe a decade’.
Dr Alghrani, director of Liverpool University’s Health Law & Regulation Unit and a trained barrister, makes her case in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, saying that once women started being offered womb transplants, ‘questions will arise as to whether this should be publicly funded’ for trans-women too. She says this would ‘revolutionise reproduction’.
It could lead others to demand transplants, including straight men, ‘allowing for couples to jointly share the reproductive burdens and joys of pregnancy’. And she says: ‘Homosexual couples may also wish to procreate in this fashion, while single men may opt for it to avoid surrogacy.’