Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

16 January, 2007

Vanity pregnancies

The WaPo is reporting that doctors are ready to perform the world's first uterus transplant. I started reading, curious as to how the whole functioning of a transplanted uterus would work. What I read thoroughly creeped me out:
After performing the complex surgery, doctors would wait probably about three months to make sure the organ is functioning and has been stabilized with anti-rejection drugs.

"We'd want to make sure it was ready to provide a safe environment for the child," said Jeanetta Stega, who is working with Del Priore.

An embryo created through in vitro fertilization would then be placed in the womb. If the pregnancy goes well, the baby would be delivered by Caesarean section to minimize risks from labor and to allow doctors to simultaneously remove the uterus, so the woman could discontinue the anti-rejection drugs.

"We are calling it a temporary transplant," Del Priore said. "This minimizes the time patients have to be on the medications and makes it a much more reasonable risk to take to have a baby."

Wow. There's nothing even remotely resembling "natural" in that description. And the idea of a "disposable" uterus? Where does that concept lead us, ethically? And what is the moral and political significance of what is ultimately the complete objectification of a woman's ability to give birth?

I have had no moral qualms about surrogate births and am sympathetic to the plight of women who, for some reason, may not be able to bear children, but the actual transplantation of another's uterus - a disposable uterus, at that - into one's own body seems to me a questionable and dangerous step into frankenscience.

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