Could current state-of-the-art medical technology transplant a fetus?

I’ve heard rumors that part of the goal in Cloning/DNA manipulation is to be able to fertalize an human egg w/ DNA from another woman. Hence, eliminating the need for men altogether. (however, this would be a short lived accomplishment, because after about 2 generations, there’d be no men doctors left to perform said “miracles” :smiley: ) … That got me to thinking (always a dangerous endevor)…

Would it be possible (today or in the near future) to transplant a fetus from one woman to another?

Possible uses: Pregnant woman killed (accident, murder, etc)… but fetus still alive (for at least a few hours/days) where another woman has miscarriage… they could transplant it… saving fetus that otherwise had nil chance of survival…

Or perhaps woman has some medical condition that prevents carrying baby to full term (cancer perhaps) and it’s too late for serigate mothering… and said woman could also die or whatever whatever…
…and if such a thing were (is) possible… could there be a scenerio where preggers couple get’s divorced/seperated and husband WANTS to keep baby (fetus) but woman duzn’t… could the man theoretically force the woman to give the fetus up to a new woman (as opposed to abortion)… or is the fetus considered “part” of the woman? (i.e. property)

Ok. I have a headache now. :smack:


My WAG though is with today’s technology it is extremely unlikely you could transplant a fetus.

Remember the receiving host (woman) needs to be to have a uterine wall all set up for supporting a baby and the only time a woman’s uterine wall is like that is when she is already pregnant.

Then there is getting the fetus in there. Currently they can implant fertilized eggs but that process does not require cutting the woman open. When you move up to a fetus I cannot imagine how it would get in to the new host without surgically opening her up and doing a reverse c-section. This I would think would pretty much ruin the uterine environment so again a non-starter.

I would expect there’d be issues with rejection from the host mother as well.

There are probably dozens of other issues but I think these are more than enough to say that it would not work. I would expect to see exo-wombs (sci-fi term for a mechanical womb to raise babies…aka vat babies) before what you are talking about.

It might be easier (or rather to say, marginally less impossible) to transplant an entire uterus with fetus inside, rather than try to reimplant a fetus and placenta.

I’ve heard that a just-fertilized ovum will hook up to damn near anything that’s got a blood supply. (Thus, the risk of ectopic pregnancies). But detaching one after it’s created a placenta and hooking it up to another person’s uterus? Probably not, not yet.

You could probally transplant a fetus into an artificial womb. Presumably if one had the technology to transplant a fetus one would be able to do that. But that creates another issue. Someone said what if a married couple gets divorced and the wife wants an abortion but the husband wants to transpant it; if the fetus could be transfered to an artifical womb an adopted then would abortion even remain legal for any woman?

The GQ answer to that is that it would remain legal if and only if the legislators chose to make it legal. If the question is instead whether it would be ethical, then there is no GQ answer at all.

Speaking only for myself and not for the entire prochoice contingent:

There’s nothing that would make me happier than for such a technology to come into being. Now anyone who no longer wishes to be pregnant can have their pregnancy terminated with no resulting death to fetus, embryo, etc.

Pro-life people will of course volunteer in droves to let the pregnancy be transplanted to their bodies, and the Republican party and its pro-life backers will of course be happy to see a little bit of their tax money going to underwrite the cost of these operations.

Won’t it be nice to see so many bleeding-heart compassionate conservatives putting their money where their mouth is and their bodies on the line on behalf of those poor defenseless fetuses?

Or, if not, if we see a lack of interest in such things coupled with the notion that the pregnant person should come up with the recipient womb-owner and the price of surgery, then we’ll really see to what extent right-to-lifers are motivated by concern for the welfare of the unborn as opposed to wanting to clip the wings of wanton women and shut down any vestige of the “sexual revolution” and so forth.

It is done all the time with cattle, especially fancy dairy cattle. Artificial inseminate the cow, strip out the fertilized egg, give a less expensive cow hormone injections and slip the fertilized egg into the now receptive surrogate mother. This way a really fancy cow can give you 10 or 18 offspring a year rather than one. If a Vet can do it to a cow, why not? In fact we do it’s called test tube babies.

Now if you are talking about a midterm fetus – that becomes trickier.

Lets transplant them into men!!!

Scientists have bee experimenting with an artificial womb for goats since 1997.

And with pedigreed horses, too. Same process, same reason.

It’d probably be easier to just clone the fetus.

But then, that weren’t your question. So, let’s see…

A uterus transplant has been successfully performed on a human , but the uterus had to be removed after 99 days after clotting problems developed. I’m guessing that trying to carry a pregnancy to term in a transplanted uterus wouldn’t work very well (at least with today’s technology)—and I don’t even know if a fetus could survive the transplantation.

Now, one might try to remove the section of uterus that the placenta is attached to—now IANAD, but from what I understand, the uterus is probably too vascularly complex to graft new tissue into, successfully. (Especialy without killing the fetus in the process) PLUS there’s the problem of tissue rejection, and probably a dozen more major issues I’m not even thinking of.

An artificial womb would probably be the best bet. As *Tapioca notes, it’s actually been tested in real life. (If not on humans)

The Zombie walks, 12 years later:

Self-organization of the human embryo in the absence of maternal tissues

Marta N. Shahbazi, Agnieszka Jedrusik, Sanna Vuoristo, Gaelle Recher, Anna Hupalowska, Virginia Bolton, Norah M. E. Fogarty, Alison Campbell, Liani G. Devito, Dusko Ilic, Yakoub Khalaf, Kathy K. Niakan, Simon Fishel & Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz
AffiliationsContributionsCorresponding author
Nature Cell Biology (2016) doi:10.1038/ncb3347
Received 25 February 2016 Accepted 29 March 2016 Published online 04 May 2016
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Abstract• References• Author information• Supplementary information
Remodelling of the human embryo at implantation is indispensable for successful pregnancy. Yet it has remained mysterious because of the experimental hurdles that beset the study of this developmental phase. Here, we establish an in vitro system to culture human embryos through implantation stages in the absence of maternal tissues and reveal the key events of early human morphogenesis. These include segregation of the pluripotent embryonic and extra-embryonic lineages, and morphogenetic rearrangements leading to generation of a bilaminar disc, formation of a pro-amniotic cavity within the embryonic lineage, appearance of the prospective yolk sac, and trophoblast differentiation. Using human embryos and human pluripotent stem cells, we show that the reorganization of the embryonic lineage is mediated by cellular polarization leading to cavity formation. Together, our results indicate that the critical remodelling events at this stage of human development are embryo-autonomous, highlighting the remarkable and unanticipated self-organizing properties of human embryos.

Self-organization of the in vitro attached human embryo

Alessia Deglincerti, Gist F. Croft, Lauren N. Pietila, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, Eric D. Siggia & Ali H. Brivanlou
AffiliationsContributionsCorresponding author
Nature (2016) doi:10.1038/nature17948
Received 06 November 2015 Accepted 30 March 2016 Published online 04 May 2016
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Implantation of the blastocyst is a developmental milestone in mammalian embryonic development. At this time, a coordinated program of lineage diversification, cell-fate specification, and morphogenetic movements establishes the generation of extra-embryonic tissues and the embryo proper, and determines the conditions for successful pregnancy and gastrulation. Despite its basic and clinical importance, this process remains mysterious in humans. Here we report the use of a novel in vitro system1, 2 to study the post-implantation development of the human embryo. We unveil the self-organizing abilities and autonomy of in vitro attached human embryos. We find human-specific molecular signatures of early cell lineage, timing, and architecture. Embryos display key landmarks of normal development, including epiblast expansion, lineage segregation, bi-laminar disc formation, amniotic and yolk sac cavitation, and trophoblast diversification. Our findings highlight the species-specificity of these developmental events and provide a new understanding of early human embryonic development beyond the blastocyst stage. In addition, our study establishes a new model system relevant to early human pregnancy loss. Finally, our work will also assist in the rational design of differentiation protocols of human embryonic stem cells to specific cell types for disease modelling and cell replacement therapy.
Extraordinary figures on-line for both.


Wombs for men: Astonishing prospect as fertility doctors back operations on NHS so transgender women born as boys can have babies
Doctors have said transgender women, born male, should be able to have kids
Gynaecologists say implanting a donor womb into a person born male is possible
Talks planned on if womb transplants for trans-women should be publicly funded
Uterine transplants could even be given to gay and straight men within ten years

Since 2014, at least five babies have been born to womb-less women after receiving donor wombs in a series of pioneering operations at Gothenburg University in Sweden.
Later this year British doctors hope to start their own charity-funded programme to give donor wombs to at least three UK women.
It is the remarkable success of the Swedish team that has triggered calls by transgender women for them to receive womb transplants too.

Yes, it’s fromThe Daily Mail, but it’s got decent interviews, and, as usual in*** S***cience, follow the money.


Israeli researchers say they have engineered model of ‘receptive’ human uterus

*Tel Aviv University scientists hope embryos will implant and grow on their model of ‘receptive’ human uterus

Transplant a fertilized egg? As you say, done all the time. Done with humans, too.

Transplant an implanted embryo or fetus? An entirely different issue. Maybe we’ll be able to do that sometime in the future. We haven’t currently got the faintest idea how. The assorted cites given in this thread are fascinating – they’re also just the beginnings of trying to understand the implantation process. And understanding it might or might not be enough to allow replicating it elsewhere – maybe it’s a do-once, and an embryo that’s implanted once becomes incapable of doing it again, at least without our figuring out some way around the mechanisms involved.

Why would a male doctor be required? :confused: It seems somewhat unlikely that in a world populated almost entirely by women, women would suddenly be barred from being doctors.

Of all aspects of this scenario likely to cause problems, I’m pretty sure that one’s around the bottom of the list.