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Swedish doctors transplant 9 wombs with a view to the future

Swedish research team prepares for uterus transplant surgery.
Swedish research team prepares for uterus transplant surgery.
University of Goteborg via AP

Although life-saving organ transplants involving hearts, kidneys, lungs and livers, etc. have been performed successfully for decades, the practice of transplanting wombs in women who either had to have theirs removed due to cancer, or who like Derya Sert of Turkey were born without a uterus (see are still quite rare. The operations also remain quite controversial.

However in countries such as Sweden, where it is against the law to use a surrogate to carry a pregnancy, the operations may prove to be the only hope these women have of bearing a child.

“This is a new kind of surgery,” commented Dr.; Mats Brannstrom, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where doctors recently performed nine transplants using wombs donated by relatives of the patients.

Derya Sert’s transplant was the first performed using the womb of a dead donor. Although she did become pregnant twice, both ended in miscarriages. To date, no other woman who received new uteruses have been able to give birth.

Brannstrom and his colleagues, however, hope that there will finally be success with their patients, and report that all 9 “are faring well, and that many began menstrual cycles within six weeks of the procedure, indicating proper function and recovery.”

In fact, all the women were released from the hospital within days of the operations, and neither they nor their donors required any extensive aftercare, although one did end up with a minor interine infection.
He also stressed that the team had checked the health of the donors extensively to assure that no viruses would be transmitted to any of the recipients, who will now have to undergo in-vitro fertilization using previously frozen embryos since the transplants were not connected to their fallopian tubes.
Note: The transplanted wombs will be removed following a limit of two pregnancies because of side effects caused by anti-rejection drugs including diabetes, anemia, hypertension and psychological problems to the women. It is also unsure of what they could do to their fetuses, although scientists do not believe (at this time) they would harm them.

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