You read that correctly.
By 2020, advances in medical surgery, hormone therapy and ligament replacement could see men given their own artificial wombs - capable of caring for a fertilised embryo.
Earlier this month, Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, USA, announced it would be performing revolutionary surgery on women born without wombs or whose uterus had been damaged. It's hoped that the introduction of artificial wombs will help these women conceive - a process that's already been proved theoretically successful by a Swedish team, resulting in four live births from transplanted wombs.
But experts believe that this form of surgery could also be used to introduce a womb to male bodies - and soon.
"My guess is five, 10 years away, maybe sooner," Dr. Karine Chung, director of the fertility preservation programme at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, told Yahoo! News. "Male and female anatomy is not that different. Probably at some point, we’ll figure out how to make that work."
There are a whole host of complications for "male pregnancy" that medical science is yet to overcome: in addition to the risks of taking anti-rejection drugs throughout the pregnancy, which leaves the infant/parent open to infection, men are unable to produce all the hormones required to grow and sustain an embryo - and there's the tricky matter of transplanting an embryo grown in vitro into a transplanted womb.
"It's doable, it just hasn’t been done," said Chung.
So, expect the path to gender equality to take an interesting turn in the next five years.
[Via: Yahoo! News]