Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Male Pregnancy Now Possible?

Human reproduction is one of processes that are widely expanded by modern science beyond its normal activity. Just like in the year 1978 when the first test tube baby was introduced. This event turned out successful that, what was then known as an experiment, had became the pioneer of fertility treatment. It is somehow astonishing to realize that babies can actually be made outside the human body. But there is a more shocking method than this, an increasingly complicated one that turns gestation into a whole new level, making it not only applicable to women but to men as well.

Male pregnancy is kind of like a twisted case since only females are capable of being pregnant. However, scientists and physicians from RYT Hospital have been working on methods of making male impregnation possible. They used a method called vitro fertilization (IVF), the same one used on test tube babies.

Before going further, let us familiarize what vitro fertilization is. Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique is the usual treatment recommended for women with defective fallopian tubes and those with out fallopian tubes. A faulty or absent fallopian tube don't allow eggs to travel from the ovary to the uterus, so with IVF this process is viable. The technique involves recovering the eggs from the mother and mixing it up in the lab with the sperm of the father. The embryo resulting from this mixture will then be placed back into the mother's uterus, allowing it to develop normally until delivery.

RYT hospital took the function of IVF farther than its usual purpose. They conducted an experiment using IVF to make pregnancy feasible to men. The first male subject, who volunteered to attempt this procedure, is a Taiwanese-born man named Mr. Lee Mingwei. Attending Physician and Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Simone Lowell of RYT Hospital-Dwayne Medical Center, did the research for this clinical procedure.

The process starts with Mr. Lee orally taking up doses of female hormones, for the purpose of making him receptive to the pregnancy. After days of careful monitoring, IVF is then used to impregnate Mr. Lee by implanting embryo and placenta into his abdominal cavity, just under the surrounding lining (peritoneum).

His impregnation is considered as an ectopic pregnancy since the development of the fertilized egg didn't occur on its normal place called uterus (which is obviously absent on Mr. Lee since he is male). Ectopic pregnancy is a very dangerous condition and is one of the main causes of death in pregnant women. Since Mr. Lee's case is the same, he too is likely to suffer a huge risk of severe internal hemorrhage when the ectopic ruptures, possibly leading to death.

After completing the implantation, Mr. Lee was advised to stop taking female hormones since the expected pregnancy, already took place. The embryo inside his cavity is normally secreting hormones enough to maintain its own development and growth. So far, the gestation period of Mr. Lee has been astoundingly normal. His health and his growing stomach are being carefully monitored. Regular checking of fetal heart rates, chorionic villus sampling, and ultrasound scanning are also done to know the updates of his condition.

When the period of delivery comes, the only way to do it is with a Cesarean section, an open surgery involving the incision of Mr. Lee's abdomen to remove the baby and the placenta. The most risky part considered during delivery is the removal of the placenta. It is because during gestation, the placenta develops a tight connection with the vessels of its surrounding areas, making it hard to remove. And not only is its removal difficult, the process is most likely to cause massive internal bleeding which may endanger the life of Mr. Lee.

Aside from the placenta, other structures with in the abdominal area such as the intestines and other parts of organs possibly affected by the implantation are also likely to be removed. Well-trained Physicians specializing in internal hemorrhages caused by ectopic pregnancies, will be there to manage the anticipated threatening situation.

So there you go another modern innovation that does the unthinkable. What was ones considered a fictional movie "Junior" (by Arnold Schwarzenegger), is now made possible in real life and is not anymore a laughing matter but rather, a serious episode to think about.

This experimental procedure is so controversial that it raised a lot of questions about gender functions and is also raising hell on religious practices that are against it. But in spite of the opposing forces around, scientists and physicians who agree with this method are still optimistic about it - considering it as a helpful technique for transsexuals who want to bear children and for men whose wives can't have kids due to a disease or sterility.

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