Case in point: the first uterus transplants from two mothers to two daughters have been completed in Sweden, in hopes that the two younger women will now be able to have children. A team of more than ten surgeons from the University of Gothenburg carried out the experimental procedures.
One woman was born without a uterus and the other lost hers to cervical cancer, so their moms stepped up and donated theirs. Surrogacy wasn’t an option for these women, as it is illegal in Sweden. Both of the women who received the transplants are in their thirties and remain anonymous at this point.
Although a similar procedure was carried out in Turkey last year, this is the first time that a uterus has been transplanted between a mother and daughter. It sounds creepy, but it's sound science: because the uteri went from mother to daughter, doctors predict that compatibility is more likely due to similar tissue makeup. Both transplant recipients will receive gradually fewer doses of immunosuppressant drugs to help their new uteri begin to function normally.
Both women went through in vitro fertilization (IVF) prior to surgery in order to create embryos, but will need to wait a year before undergoing IVF again. If they’re eventually able to get pregnant, the doctors will consider the procedures successful. It’ll also be the first time a mother and daughter will have shared the same womb--talk about family bonding!
Over the next few months, the surgeons plan to perform transplant surgery on eight other women, with seven from mother-to-daughter and one from sister-to-sister. Other doctors warn that the procedure is only a possibility for a small number of infertile women. Dr Gedis Grudzinskas, a consultant in infertility and gynecology, said, “This is a potential advance for a small group of women but I am cautious about how widespread the implications will be. Applicability is limited.”
Check out a video about the Uterus Transplantation Research Project below:
Image via dailymail.co.uk; video via sahlgrenska.gu.se