Swedes succeed in first womb transplant
Doctors at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, have delivered the first baby to have been gestated in a transplanted womb.
Doctors at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, have delivered the first baby to have been gestated in a transplanted womb. The child, a boy, is healthy and normally developed.
The goal of the Gothenburg project, headed by Professor Mats Brännström, is to enable women who were born without a womb or who have lost their wombs in cancer surgery to give birth to their own children.
Nine women in the project have received a womb from live donors – in most cases the recipient’s mother but also other family members and close friends. The transplanted uterus was removed in two cases, in one case due to a serious infection and in the other due to blood clots in the transplanted blood vessels.
The other women have in 2014 tried to become pregnant through a process where their own embryos, produced through IVF, are reintroduced to the transplanted uterus. Professor Brännström hopes that the remaining six women will also have successful pregnancies.
The successful delivery is considered a major step forward. “It gives us scientific evidence that the concept of uterus transplantation can be used to treat uterine factor infertility, which up to now has remained the last untreatable form of female infertility. It also shows that transplants with a live donor are possible, including if the donor is past menopause,” says Brännström.
Richard Smith, a gynaecological surgeon at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London, has already applied to perform the procedure on five women. He says that he has a waiting list of 60 women.
As Dr Amel Alghrani, a law lecturer at the University of Liverpool, points out in BioNews, success could open up some ethical issues. What will happen when a male to female transgendered person asks for a womb transplant? “Once this occurs, by default, will we have discovered the science to achieve male pregnancy and the prospect of unisex gestation?” she asks.
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