Surgeon Aims to Perform the First Successful Womb Transplant on a Transgender Patient
Dr. Narendra Kaushik hopes that one day his name will be held in the same regard as other pioneering surgeons who have been the first to perform a particular operation or change the landscape of the medical field for other reasons. Claudius Amyand performed the first appendectomy in 1735, Christiaan Banard completed the first heart transplant in 1967, but Kaushik’s endeavor has yet to be be successfully completed. The New Delhi-based Indian surgeon intends to attempt the world’s first womb transplant for a male-to-female transgender patient. Proponents of the procedure view Kaushik as a seminal figure promoting the scientific initiative toward gender affirming medical treatments. Opponents, however, herald the forthcoming procedure as another advancement of transhumanism by the hands of the technocatic elite.
Kaushik looks to source the womb from a female-to-male donor in the hopes that using a healthy womb removed from a live person will improve the outcome of the surgery which has rarely been attempted even on biological women. Doctors in Turkey and Saudi Arabia previously completed the procedure but the recipients were unable to bear children nevertheless. In Sweden, Dr. Mats Brannstrom delivered a baby from a woman who had been given her mother’s womb as a transplant. Brannstrom was able to delivery 5 babies in total from patients who successfully underwent womb transplants. In 2020, American citizen Jennifer Gobrecht also gave birth to a baby boy following a womb transplant from a deceased donor.
As promising as Brannstrom’s and others' results were, the procedure is still considered to be experimental with other surgeries resulting in failed outcomes. In 2016, a 26-year-old woman received the first womb transplant in the United States using an organ from a deceased donor. The surgery was performed by the Cleveland Clinic as part of a clinical study on treating uterine factor infertility in biological women. However, the surgery proved to be a failure as the patient rejected the organ. The complication necessitated the removal of the transplanted womb. While the recipient who went by the pseudonym of Lindsey was unable to give birth following the surgery, she is mother to 3 adopted children.
Unlike previous womb transplant surgeries, Dr. Kaushik’s will be the first to successfully complete the procedure on a transgender recipient. Although Jessica Alves, a transgender television personality, previously announced their intent to receive the surgery. However, that mission went unaccomplished. The only actual attempt to transplant a womb into a recipient born mail was attempted in Denmark in 1931. That patient ultimately died from cardiac arrest resulting from an infection which arose as a complication from the surgery.
While the 100% morality rate of the surgery should be daunting enough, Dr. Kaushik hopes that the strides that have put modern medicine light years ahead from where things were almost a century ago when the transplant was first attempted. Kishauk hopes those innovations will ultimately enable the recipient of his transplant surgery to bear children through in vitro fertilization with the transplanted women only serving for gestation as it wouldn’t be able to achieve conception given the recipient would have no fallopian tubes to produce eggs to bring with. As such, the donation recipient would also need to find an egg donor, though they could conceivably fertilize them with their own sperm.
While advocates of the procedure may point to female-to-male transgender mothers as an auspicious omen, the inverted situation is an entirely different circumstance all together. Male anatomy precludes the pelvis from being wide enough for an infant to pass through a birth canal. Advocates of the surgery highlight that delivery could be achieve alternatively by cesarean section. Despite those challenges, many doctors believe that this is simply just another hurdle for medical science to triumph over. Dr. Richard Paulson once stated "There would be additional challenges, but I don’t see any obvious problem that would preclude it. I think it would be possible." in 2017 when he then served as president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Transgender Surgery Institutte India, the clinic which Kishauk will perform the surgery has already established itself in providing medical treatment to transgender patients. The Indian doctor lauds himself for the standard of medicine he has been able to practice from aesthetic feminization procedures to sexual reassignment surgeries. "Many of our patients tell us that their sexual partners don’t even notice that they weren't born with female sex organs," said Dr. Kaushik who expounded “that’s our aim, to make it so that they live as normal a life as possible as a woman. We aim for an aesthetic ideal.”
Meet Trystan Reese, The Transgender Man Who Is Pregnant And "Excited To Expand His Family With His Partner" pic.twitter.com/utJJn3TCC1— GIDI (@Gidi_Traffic) July 1, 2017
For critics of Dr. Kaushik, the procedure doesn’t achieve normality in any way shape or form. Ethical objections to gender affirming medical care from hormone blockers given to minors to the entire premise of sexual reassignment surgeries conflict with support for the treatments, cultivating a mire of controversy that Dr. Kaushik will thrust himself to the forefront of. If it is indeed successful and the surgery becomes more common, Dr. Kaushik’s achievement will surely face more outrage than something as trivial as the pregnant man emoji did.