‘Frankenscience’: This Bizarre Chinese Experiment Is Beneath Human Dignity

The scientists manipulated male rats with transplanted uteruses to carry to term.

Rodents (photo: spa / Pixabay/CC0)

Chinese scientists from the Naval Medical University in Shanghai recently published alarming research aimed at manipulating male rats with transplanted uteruses to carry to term. 

This Frankenstein-like study was carried out by scientists Zhang Rongjia and Liu Yuhuan, who admitted that the success rate was “very low.” The scientists stated that this is the first time it has ever been reported that male “pregnancy” was achieved in mammals.

The experiment involved conjoining a male and female rat by cutting their sides open and stapling the two rats together so that they shared blood, then transplanting another female rat’s uterus into the male, transferring embryos to both uteruses, then using the female’s pregnancy hormones to run through their shared blood keep both embryos alive in both the male and female conjoined rats.

The scientists stated that the experiment may have “a profound impact on reproductive biology.” Such research has far-reaching implications in the scientific march to try to erase biological sex differences. 

In nature, male pregnancy is an extremely rare phenomenon that occurs only in syngnathidae, a family of fish which includes seahorses, pipefishes and sea dragons. Among mammals, only females can get pregnant and carry offspring. Since rats are mammals that share 90% of genes with humans (according to genome sequencing done in 2004), they are favored test subjects for all sorts of scientific experiments performed with the hope of getting insight into how humans might respond under similar circumstances.

How did these scientists conduct this research? Because science can’t yet artificially replicate a female’s complex hormonal response throughout pregnancy, it was necessary for them to conjoin the two rats. The result is parabiosis — the joining of two separate living organisms so that they share one physiological system. They used inbred Lewis rats for the study to increase the likelihood that their immune systems would not reject the shared blood.

They then transplanted another female rat’s uterus into the male and transferred embryos into both uteruses. By forcing the female rat to be pregnant, her hormones kicked in, and because she shared a physiological system with the conjoined male, the pregnant female’s blood flowed through her and the male and was able to supply the pregnancy hormones to both embryos in the separate uteruses. They also castrated the male so that his testosterone levels would not affect her pregnancy hormones. 

They let the embryos gestate to full term, which for rats is 21 days, and then they performed a caesarean section to remove the embryos.

The scientists used 46 pairs of conjoined male/female rats. They transferred 562 embryos to the female rats, and 280 embryos to the male rats with transplanted uteruses. The results? In the uteruses of females, 169 embryos developed normally (30%), while in the transplanted uteruses in the males, only 27 embryos developed normally (9.6%). Of the 280 original embryos implanted, only 10 pups survived in the male rats — a 3.6% survival rate. Of the 3.6% that survived, the scientists claimed that the examinations “showed that their heart, lung, liver, kidney, brain, testis, epididymis, ovary and uterus had no obvious abnormalities.”

However, of the ones that didn’t survive, they found that there were abnormal dead fetuses only in the males with transplanted uteruses, with abnormalities that did not occur in the native female uteruses. The abnormalities included different morphology and color compared with normal fetuses, and placentas that were atrophied or swollen.

Essentially, for this experiment they kept the “shell” of a male rat, castrated him, transplanted a female’s uterus, and pumped a female’s pregnancy hormones through his blood. Also, when they tried to transfer embryos only in the transplanted uterus of the male, without also transferring embryos into the female, no embryos survived because they did not have the benefit of the female’s pregnancy hormones. Further, when they did separation surgeries on the conjoined rats, they saw that the female pregnancy hormones in the male dropped.

The scientists said, “We thus inferred that the transplanted embryos may develop normally in grafted uteruses of male parabionts only when the female parabionts conceive and provide pregnant blood exposure to male parabionts.” That should be obvious: A male rat’s hormone production cannot maintain a pregnancy on his own, apart from exposure to the female’s pregnant blood which carries the hormones needed for embryo survival.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:

“Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives” (2417),


“It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly” (2418).

Transplanting uteruses into males neither contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

In fact, if a similar experiment to this one were to be done on humans, it would be gravely immoral because it would treat men and women as spare body parts, assault the sacredness of their reproductive systems as designed by God, and lead to the unethical creation and horrific destruction of human embryos. It neither cares for nor saves human lives.

This type of experimentation is also unnecessary and not within reasonable limits. This experiment is an abuse of animals, an abuse of science and beneath our human dignity. Even People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’s senior science policy adviser, Emily McIvor, referred to these experiments as “vile” and “Frankenscience.” She told Mail Online, “These shocking experiments are driven solely by curiosity and do nothing to further our understanding of the human reproductive system.”

This experiment was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, a Chinese state-run institution. The scientists claim that the experiment was performed “according to local ethics guidelines,” but that shouldn’t impress anyone given that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) treatment of humans is inhumane. The CCP is responsible for human rights abuses such as the horrific treatment of the Uyghurs and also their forced and coerced abortions to meet their oppressive child-bearing policies. How much less are they interested in the ethical treatment of their animal test subjects. 

When unmoored scientists manipulate biological males to try to make them reproduce like females, they attempt to sidestep nature in order to further an agenda. Males and females are created biologically different — a reality that they and others are trying to erase. Our male and female reproductive systems are different, but complementary. Genesis 5:2 provides a perennial truth: “Male and female, he created them.” The types and levels of hormones pumping through our systems are made to correspond to our biological sex. 

The bodies of mammalian males are not biologically equipped to bear and nurture offspring, and as this experiment painfully shows, they require female biology (both a uterus and female pregnancy hormones) to get even a very low number of surviving pups. Only the embryos in transplanted uteruses of male rats developed abnormally and the death toll of embryos in the transplanted uteruses of male rats stands at an astounding 96.4%. This experiment is bad science to serve an ideology.