Womb transplants could be available to infertile or childless women as early as next year, leading researchers say. The procedure is designed to help women whose wombs were damaged by disease or defect, and the transplanted wombs would come from either living or dead donors. Donors and recipients would have to be a close tissue match in order to prevent the recipient's body from rejecting the organ, and the recipient would not be able to conceive or give birth naturally, as the transplanted tissue could not hold up to the strain.

Obviously, if this comes to the US, this is only going to be a procedure accessible to the most privileged of privileged, women who can afford to receive a womb transplant (or who has Crazy Dream Insurance that pays for things like post-NCAA tournament depression-related acupuncture), who can afford the ensuing IVF necessary to conceive, who can afford the expensive immunosuppressant drugs needed to prevent organ rejection and the cost of a hospital Cesarean section. They'd also have to be able to afford to have the womb removed after a pregnancy or two, as long term use the rejection-preventing drugs womb recipients must take can lead to harmful complications.

While this procedure would, on one hand, offer a subset of the population more choices about their bodies, it would also force women who choose to undergo it to surrender their autonomy to the medical profession almost completely. Advocates of adoption also aren't thrilled with the prospect of the medical community investing millions of dollars making sure that women can bear their own biological children when orphanages the world over are crowded with unwanted children (even though, one could argue that how other people choose to have or not have children is extra super Not About You). And, of course, there's the contingent of the population that gets mad any time any medical breakthrough happens that makes women's lives easier or gives them more choices, because women deserve to be punished for every possible decision that they could make and people get spooked when women are able to exert more control over their own bodies. Harumph harumph, they said, monocles quivering with rage, Who's to say this isn't going to lead to women getting rid of their wombs willy-nilly? How am I supposed to control women when women are out there controlling themselves?

Thus far, the procedures only been performed on small animals, but researchers are optimistic that it could be widespread- in as many as one in ten hospitals- in the short term.

Childless Women 'Could Get Womb Transplants Next Year' [Daily Mail]