In 1930, Einar Wegener received a uterine transplant in an effort to gain the reproductive capacity of a biological woman. The transplant did not agree with Wegener’s body; and Wegener died shortly thereafter. So far, no successful transplant has occurred in the body of a biological male. Female to female transplants have worked and even lead to the birth of a child.
Despite the lack of success in transplanting a uterus into a male body, the desire to gain the procreative potential exists. Recently, Alicyn Simpson who works in the children’s gender program at UPMC argued that it is feasible. Simpson proposes that live women who (presumably) no longer want their uterus could donate to a biological male who desires a uterus.
Are Uterine Transplants Good?
What I suppose makes Simpson’s argument so eye-brow raising is that Simpson works within the gender program for a children’s department in a hospital. The implication being that even at a young age it might be a good thing to transplant a uterus from a young female to a (young) male so that the latter could gain the former’s reproductive potential. Simpson recounts being 20 years of age and desiring the ability to procreate. And so this points to a young age as well.
Reason has become an instrument that we use to discover techniques to allow us to dominate nature—to transgress the limits that nature has given us.
As Simpson explains, “Most transgender women would choose to have female physiological experiences.” And Simpson admits to working to push modern medicine in that direction which seems to imply uterine transplants into biological males from biological females.
No one seems to have asked if such a procedure was good. That is assumed. If some obstacle impedes the liberty of choice, then we must find a technique to overcome the obstacle and enable free choice. Reason has become an instrument that we use to discover techniques to allow us to dominate nature—to transgress the limits that nature has given us.
Uterine Transplants don’t heal—they Eliminate what is Given Naturally
This activity differs from developing medicine that heals or restores a natural capacity. If a woman, for example, has a blocked uterine tube, then medicine can return that organ to health. By contrast, removing the natural capacity of procreation from a woman (i.e. the uterus) and presumably eliminating fertility cycles in women does not heal but eliminates what is given naturally to females.
The same might be said of removing the male procreative organs and implanting a uterus and synthetically (or transplanting) the rest of the tissue needed. Again, that removes the natural limit that biology places upon a male. Human freedom over human nature here is the goal.
In fact, gender theorists such as Judith Butler do not believe in human nature. There is no female essence. Our bodies are blank slates. Society creates stylized gender norms, imposing them upon us. But if that is the case, then female physiology would be part of that gendered experience.
Yet if that is true, then why should a transgender woman desire such gender norms like female physiology? The answer is that female physiology is not a stylized gender; but something intrinsic to being female.
As a sign, female or male physiology testifies to something about nature—we are given to being male or female. On occasion, some people are born intersex which means their physiology does not conform to the common male or female parallel. Such persons require specific and unique attention. In this article, I am referring to those born male or female, including chromosomal and physiological characteristics of that sex.
What does a Christian do with this Coming Medical Revolution?
What does a Christian do with this coming medical revolution? Perhaps Christians should stay out of such matters since the mission of the church centres on worship? And yet Jesus tells us that we are the salt and light of the world (Matt 5:13–16).
And therefore Christians in the broadest definition have a relation to the political ordering of society. A Christian surgeon may be asked to perform uterine transplants. In Ontario, we know that the doctor’s right of conscience can be infringed by a patient’s right of care—in the case of referring someone to medical assistance in dying.
Further, if Christians argue that uterine transplants wrongly use technique to overcome the limits of nature that God has placed upon us, then we could be thought to discriminate against a protected group in Canada’s Charter (i.e. equality rights). This too involves a political relation.
And if we agree that God created the world to be good and since everyone lives in God’s world, then it stands to reason that we would say that God’s way is good. But in saying so, we are political, at least in the older sense of ordering society around common aims. We will not share a common aim with other Canadians. That is what I mean by political.
And again: that will shape how education works, how public opinion works, how job place cultures work, and virtually all else in our nation. For that reason, Christians must have a moral framework for understanding all such matters. Ignoring it does not work
But it remains for Christians to practice medicine with infringed rights of conscience; lawyers to attest to equality rights in hiring practices; educators to be asked to teach modern gender theory; small business owners to attest to all sorts of non-discrimination policies; children legally decide to reassign their gender, even against the desire of parents; and much more.
We Have Entered a Brave new World—one Where Christians must be United
We are entering into and have entered a brave new world. The old assumptions about Canadian culture no longer win the day. The age when Canada would generally parallel Christian moral norms has passed.
Carl Trueman has argued that we need to look back to the Church Fathers, before the age of Christian power, to find faithful ways to live in a culture that we might describe as chaotic and out of sync with created nature. They did so by following God’s Word.
The only way Christians can have success is the way Christians have always had success: believers must follow what the Bible says. To the one who delights in God’s instruction, the Bible says, “In all that he does, he prospers” (Ps 1:3).
One area where Canadians have often failed is in working together across denominational lines. Yet Paul says that Macedonian Christians have an obligation to Jerusalemites (Rom 15:27). This obligation binds our conscience since we must support each other, wherever Christians are found, since we are all one body.
The only way Christians can have success is the way Christians have always had success: believers must follow what the Bible says
The obligation to work together brings our conscience but not the specific application. And therefore we have the freedom to find creative ways to work together, to resource each other, and to fellowship with each other.
That necessity of unity, in obedience to Scripture which in many ways names the unity of all believers, will bring us success since we can share the gifts of the Spirit which exist all across Christ’s body whether in Calgary, Vancouver, or Toronto.
“There is one body and one Spirit,” Paul writes (Eph 4:4). And putting together this body as many desire to take apart their body will strengthen us as we return to full bodily health.