Doctors in the UK think that they may be only two years away from being able to perform a womb transplant, which may be preferred to surrogacy or adoption. Whilst being a medical miracle on one hand, judging by the comments left on the Daily Mail website, this surgery is not a popular idea to everyone. And as someone who has had more cause than most to ruminate on this very matter, I must admit that reading about it today has made me feel just the slightest bit queasy.
There is no doubt that a woman who wants to have a baby, but is unable to do so because she does not have a womb, would consider running whatever gauntlet is necessary to make her family dream a reality. When in that position myself I took on the tremendous challenge of creating babies with the help of a surrogate mother. This option is in no way easy or simple, and we were blessed to be successful with the birth of our twins.
Of course, surrogacy doesn’t fulfil the needs of some women to carry a pregnancy themselves, but I personally felt that it was not the transient experience of gestating or giving birth to the baby that mattered most, but our offspring becoming part of our family for a lifetime. Would I have opted for a womb transplant if that had been available? Unlikely.
There would have to be masses of proof that a baby could be born safely, despite all the risks of using a transplanted womb and having used masses of anti-rejection drugs. There are so many inherent risks in ‘normal’ pregnancy and birth, this could tip the balance over the edge with too higher risk to both mother and child. Then there’s the fact that the womb would need to be donated from a dead woman. That would be something that would need overcoming, particularly when it isn’t a matter of life and death.
This all said, it’s easy for me sitting here with my three lovely children debating the subject, having easily forgotten the sheer desperation I felt to complete my family not so long ago, and watch with interest and hope that perhaps for some families their dreams may come true in the not so distant future.