Are Swedish Doctors Pioneering A Uterus Transplant?

News

Adelle Platon / September 18, 2012

Doctors performed what they call the world’s first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants so that two Swedish women may get pregnant.

Specialists at the University of Goteborg said they performed the surgery over the weekend without complications but won’t consider it successful unless the women give birth to healthy children, Yahoo! News reports.

One of the unidentified women involved in the operation had her uterus removed many years ago because of cervical cancer, while the other was born without a womb. Both are in their 30s.

They will first go under a year’s worth of observation before attempting in vitro fertilization. Doctors will monitor how the two patients respond to the anti-rejection drugs needed to stop their immune systems from attacking the donated wombs.

Researchers around the world have been looking for ways to transplant wombs so that women who have lost a uterus to cancer or other diseases can become pregnant. Doctors from Turkey and Saudi Arabia have attempted similar procedures though one proved unsuccessful due to a blood clot and the other with unknown results.

Should the operation be successful, fertility experts say it is unclear how many women will opt for such a surgery given the extreme medical side effects (high blood pressure, swelling and diabetes and may also raise the risk of some types of cancer). For now, a surrogate mother is the best solution.

“There’s no doubt this will be a pioneering step if it’s been successful,” said Scott Nelson, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. “At present, the only option for these women is to have a surrogacy — i.e., having their embryos implanted into another woman.”