Womb Transplant is unethical in days of adoption and surrogacy

Womb Transplant is unethical in days of adoption and surrogacy

Womb Transplant – Is it ethical in days of adoption and surrogacy?


“No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”
- Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, born in 1879, in the United States, popularized the term ‘birth control’ and is credited to have opened the first ‘birth control clinic’ in the US. But even before birth control, we must think of something far more intimate, important and precious, a concept called ‘motherhood’. Just like Sanger said, it is a right of woman to choose whether she wants to be a mother or not. But should ends justify the means? Should procedures like womb transplant be opted for, if more viable, safer and better options for achieving motherhood are available? Even before the first successful womb transplant in Sweden took place, the concept of womb transplant was criticized on many quarters, ethics being one of the foremost reasons. Let’s discuss the morality and ethicality of this issue.

Against ethics and nature!

“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.” : Robert A. Heinlein. So having a baby or being a mother doesn’t mean that it should be born from the woman’s own womb only.

Unsafe and insufficiently tested procedure : The uterus transplant procedure is not tested to a near 100% success rate. Many complications are seen while performing such transplants.

Effect of drugs used during procedure : Immunosuppressant drugs will be used during this transplant to let the body of the woman accept foreign organ. There has not been enough study done on long term effect of these drugs on pregnancies or later health of the woman and the child.

Risk to donors : Using a live donor is too risky. Though Sweden took the organ out of a live donor, most of the other researchers prefer to start with brain dead donors to harvest the uterus, as the procedure has too much complication and risk. This procedure is putting two people’s life at risk.

Chances of complications : After this transplant, the woman would undergo IVF (In-vitro Fertilization) procedure. So that means there are multiple procedures; more the number of procedures more are the chances of complications and risks.

Existence of safer approach of surrogacy : There are various other options to go for rather than this complicated surgery. Surrogacy is becoming popular in many countries.

Adoption : Adoption is another option that can be considered. Just like Robert Heinlein said, motherhood is an attitude. This can also be shown for a child who is adopted.

It is not life-saving transplant : Transferring uterus is not for saving life of the woman. Though being a mother is an important thing for a woman, it is not worth risking lives for such a procedure when safer options are available.

Ethical issues like exploitation of donors, etc. : Here exploitation of women can become rampant. Since many would like to deliver their own baby, ‘uterus’ would become another commodity and women might be forced to sell their uterus for money, when this technology develops further and becomes safer. If not forced by others, poverty can force a woman to do so as anyways a woman can survive after removing uterus.

Religious opposition : Some religious views consider it to be an act opposing the nature and natural law. They consider it as humans playing God, which is a taboo. They think it is going against the nature.

Gift of being a mother!

Joy of motherhood : The joy and satisfaction of delivering one’s own child is something which not all can understand. From this feeling emerges the approval of women towards this transfer of uterus.

Mutual consent of donor and patient : It is organ donation and like other organ donations there has to be consent of the donor. The risk of exploitation of donor in this case is same as that of other organs. If the donor and the patient is ready for transfer of womb, then others must not intervene in it.

Start of new technology : Since it is evolving technology, the success rate will rise slowly. This has happened with every technology with even as a simple procedure as blood transfusion. We just need to be cautious while testing and developing the technology and bring the risks to zero or near zero.

Issue of alternative approaches : Even alternate approaches like surrogacy met with ethical opposition at start but were accepted later on. Organ transplant too was opposed on grounds of risk and taboo. There are risks involved with surrogacy too, but those were addressed in time to come and now we see many couples opting for surrogacy.

Effect of drugs : It has been proven that immunosuppressant drugs are safe during pregnancies and hence their use in this procedure can be considered safe. Also, as the technology progresses and more trials are done, more research would also go into making these drugs more and more safe.

Increases Quality of Life : Nowadays lot of importance is being given to quality of life of a human being. Being a mother and giving birth to one’s own child is one of the elements of a good quality and fulfilling life. This may not look like a life-saving transplant for few, but no one can deny that this transplant can surely improve the life of every woman who bears children successfully after the transplant.

Just like a person can decide whether or not they want a kidney or kidney transplant, the same way a woman must have the right to choose whether she wants a womb transplant or not. Also, since surrogacy has been accepted nowadays for getting a child, womb transplant too can be considered an option. The ethical issues and morality involved with womb transplant is no more than the morality and ethics involve in kidney or other organ transplant. As far as religious views are concerned, nothing can be more sacred than allowing a woman to give birth to her own child. No religion calls for separating a child from his/her mother or separating a woman from her right from bearing child and being a mother. So a positive attitude and a very tightly regulated and monitored womb transplant procedure can make sure every needy woman gets her happiness!
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