WOMB transplants could allow men to have babies “tomorrow”, an expert claims.
They would not be able to deliver the baby naturally, but could give birth by cesarean.
Richard Paulson, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said eight children had already been born to women after transplants.
And he told a meeting in San Antonio, Texas: “There’s plenty of room to put a uterus in there. Men and women have the same blood vessels.”
He said the next step would to be trials involving transgender women to help them become natural mothers.
Such ops are not allowed in the UK. However, medical ethics lawyer Dr Amel Alghrani joined calls this year for the NHS to consider them.
Last night critics said transgender women may want to think of safer options first — such as using a surrogate. Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University, said the safety of the baby should be the priority.
He added: “It it is hard to justify from the perspective of using NHS health resources, or from the child’s own perspective.”
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 reports of ‘trans men’ having babies – women who have had sex change operations to become male, but still have functioning wombs.
Dr Paulson, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, made his controversial prediction at the society’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
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.’
Asked when someone who was born male could be fitted with a uterus, Dr Paulson said: ‘They could do it tomorrow.’
He added, however: ‘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 that one problem is that the male pelvis would not allow a baby to pass through it because it is too narrow, so a man would have to give birth by caesarean section.
But there was room inside a man to hold a womb. Dr Paulson said hormones might have to be given to replicate the changes that go on while a woman is pregnant.
Procuring a uterus would be necessary – either from a living donor or from a brain-dead donor – a complicated, ten-hour operation.
Once the uterus has been transplanted, an IVF embryo would have to be implanted. 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 very much an experimental procedure.
Docs hope to perform the first UK womb transplant in 2018.
In 2014 a Swede gave birth after receiving a uterus from a living donor.