A male rat in China has given birth by Caesarean section after a ‘vile’ experiment that involved joining it to a female rat and transplanting a uterus.
Scientists from the Naval Medical University in Shanghai said the experiment may have ‘a profound impact on reproductive biology.’
They did not spell out the implications for humans but it comes after studies exploring the possibility of transplanting a uterus into transgender women.
The team joined a male and female rat together by attaching their skin and sharing their blood, then transplanting a uterus into the male and implanting embryos into both male and female rats.
The embryos were allowed to develop to term, that is 21.5 days, with ten successful pups out of 27 ‘normal’ embryos in the male delivered by Caesarean section.
Those went on to live into adulthood and were able to reproduce, suffering no wider ill effects to heart, lung or liver, the team explained.
The scientists said: ‘A mammalian animal model of male pregnancy was constructed by us.’ However, PETA’s Senior Science Policy Advisor, Emily McIvor, called the study ‘frankenscience’ and ‘vile’.