What to Know About a Uterus Transplant

By Hic et nunc (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-s

Physicians at the Cleveland Clinic have stated they are going to attempt to do 10 female uterine transplants. The study was announced in November of 2015 and it will attempt to help women who are unable to conceive a baby and carry to term.

Who Will Have the Surgery?

Researchers have announced they are going to do uterine transplants to help women who can’t carry an infant to term because of uterine factor infertility. The abnormalities that could prevent a woman from conceiving could include uterine fibroids, uterine scarring or being born without a uterus.

In other situations a woman could be considered for a uterine transplant if she had a hysterectomy or there was damage to her uterus that prevents her from conceiving.

Dr. Tommaso Falcone, an obstetrician-gynecologist and Women’s Health Institute Chairman states, “Women who are coping with UFI (uterine factor infertility) have fewer existing options. Although adoption and surrogacy provide opportunities for parenthood, both post logistical challenges and may not be acceptable due to personal, cultural or legal reasons.”

Where Has this Surgery Been Done Before?

Uterine transplants have already been done in other countries, including Turkey and Sweden. A Swedish woman received a transplant, conceived and gave birth to a healthy baby. In total, there have been five documented pregnancies and four births in Sweden after nine uterine transplant procedures.
The procedure could be extremely important for women who are infertile and live in a country where surrogacy may be forbidden.

What Happens During a Uterine Transplant?

Although a uterine transplant could be a woman’s only chance to carry their own child to term, it is not without difficulties. To go through the process, a woman must have her eggs retrieved through in vitro fertilization and frozen.

After going through the procedure, a woman must take immune system suppressing medications in order to prevent her body from rejecting the uterus. She will also need to go through monthly biopsies.

Any infant that is conceived via a uterine transplant will have to be born via Caesarian section and after, at most, two babies, the uterus is removed so the woman doesn’t need to continue taking immunosuppressive medications for the rest of her life.

Cleveland Clinic lead investigator Dr. Andres Tzakis said in a statement, “Unlike any other transplants, they are ‘ephemeral’, they are not intended to last for the duration of the recipient’s life, but will be maintained for only as long as necessary to produce one or two children.”

The organs in women from the United States will be transplanted from deceased donors, while the ones in Sweden were from a living donor who underwent extensive surgeries to remove their uteruses intact.

Closing:

Women who receive a transplanted uterus will not likely be required to go through intense operations, even though the surgery is tricky.


 
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