Babies borne by men `possible'
Monday 22 February 1999
Lord Winston, a pioneer of in-vitro fertilisation techniques, says in a new book that an embryo could be implanted in a man's abdomen - with the placenta attached to an internal organ such as the bowel - and later delivered by Caesarean section. However, other experts expressed serious misgivings about the treatment, saying the chances of a successful pregnancy were extremely low and needed to be balanced against the risks to the man's health.
The prospect of male pregnancy, fictionalised in the film Junior starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is raised in Lord Winston's book, The IVF Revolution, to be published in April. "It would be technically possible for a man to bear a child," said the professor, head of the fertility clinic at Hammersmith Hospital in west London and presenter of the BBC television series The Human Body.
He acknowledged that such a technique would involve treating the man with female hormones and could be dangerous because of the risk of bleeding.
The male pregnancy would imitate an ectopic pregnancy in a woman, a condition where the embryo begins to develop outside the uterus and which can prove fatal.
According to Dr Gillian Lockwood, a clinical research fellow at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, male pregnancy would be theoretically viable but the chances of success would be "thousands to one against".
In addition to the feminising side-effects of hormonal treatment, Dr Lockwood says, the man would also need a partial colostomy because the placenta would not come away cleanly. "The lining of the womb is specially designed to allow the placenta to invade it and come away freely when the baby is born," she said. "No other organ in the body can do this and without the protective uterine muscle the baby runs a real risk of being damaged.
"Even when we transfer embryos into the uterus there is only a 50:50 chance of them becoming attached, so the chance of getting an embryo to stick in the wrong place is very low."
Doctors would have to obtain permission to carry out the treatment from the the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. A spokesman for the authority said applications would be subjected to a rigorous assessment process that would consider the reasons behind the treatment as well as its safety and effectiveness.
In theory, the technique could allow homosexual couples to have children and help heterosexual couples where the woman cannot carry a child.
Review page 4
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 3 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 4 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 5 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
Greece debt crisis: Athens has one day to find €1.6bn
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...
£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...