Leading doctors have said they back NHS-funded womb transplants for biological males who identify as women, a procedure which experts say will be possible within 10 years.
It is believed that medical funding and advances will make the procedure possible within a decade, after pioneering operations at the University of Gothenburg on womb-less women have seen at least five children born as a result of a procedure similar to the one doctors are working towards.
Prompted by the Swedish team’s success, activists demanded the NHS make womb transplants available to male-born transgender people, a call doctors and fertility experts told the Mail on Sunday that they back.
Consultant Gynaecologist Dr. Arianna D’Angelo, of the NHS’s Wales Fertility Institute, said it was right from an “ethical point of view”.
She said: “We already have fertility preservation for transgender people, to give them the possibility to have their own genetic child.
“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 and pointed to the UK’s equality laws.
“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.
Director of Liverpool University’s Health Law & Regulation Unit Amel Alghrani is pressing for talks on whether womb transplants for transgender people should be publicly funded.
Making her case in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, the medical ethics lawyer said such a move would “revolutionise reproduction” and lead to other groups of people demanding womb implants — including homosexual and straight men who wanted to experience the ‘joys’ of carrying a child.
“Homosexual couples may also wish to procreate in this fashion, while single men may opt for it to avoid surrogacy,” she said.
Ghent University Hospital’s Professor Steven Weyers, who is starting a womb transplant programme involving 20 women later this year, said he believed that transplants for people who were born male would happen in “maybe a decade”.
Women’s campaigner and co-editor of the Conservative Woman Laura Perrins slammed the notion of NHS-funded womb transplants for transgender people, asserting that it “will impinge on the meaning of motherhood and womanhood”.
“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,” she added.