Uterus transplants pose the same ethical problems as surrogacy

Publié le 19 Oct, 2018

A researcher at Linköping University in Sweden[1] has studied the ethical aspects of uterine transplantation, and concludes that this procedure is not necessarily less complex than surrogacy from an ethical perspective.


A certain number of teams around the world are carrying out research into uterine transplantation. To date, ten children have been born using this technique, eight of them in Sweden. The process is only in its initial stages but many people already see it as a medical breakthrough. “An ethical debate is required before uterine transplantation can pass to the clinical trial stage in the Swedish health system,” urges Lisa Guntram, a research scientist at Linköping University. Without reaching any decisions, her study highlights the “parallels” that exist between uterine transplantation and surrogacy.


Lysa Guntram assumes that uterine transplantation would be less problematic than surrogacy. However, many of the arguments used against surrogacy can also apply to uterine transplantation in the treatment of infertility:


·         The procedure threatens donor autonomy and exposes them to pressure. In the case of uterine transplantation, the donor uterus generally comes from the infertile woman’s mother. Some close relatives of the infertile woman may feel obliged or pressurised to donate.


·         The procedure may lead to exploitation of the female body—the uterus could become a black market commodity.


·         Research into the physical and psychological risks to the child conceived through such practices is inadequate.


[1] The study results were published in the journal Bioethics in collaboration with Nicola Jane Williams from Lancaster University.

Science Daily (26/09/2018)

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