Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Swedish Doctors Have Pulled Off Womb Transplants for 9 Women

Here is your daily dose of futuristic medical news: The AP reports that after a decade of research, doctors in Sweden have successfully transplanted wombs from living donors into 9 women.

Advertisement

Some of the patients had lost their uterus to cancer, while others were born without. Each received a uterus donated from a relative, which might be the only thing more intimate than your mom serving as your surrogate.

Advertisement

It's an accomplishment, but the next hurdle is big: actually carrying a pregnancy to term. Researchers in Turkey and Saudi Arabia have already managed womb transplants, but not babies; one had to be removed because of a blood clot and in the other, the patient miscarried.

The docs at the University of Gothenburg didn't hook the transplanted uteri up to the recipients' fallopian tubes. Instead, doctors harvested eggs before the surgery, for in-vitro fertilization. Now they'll relocate those embryos, and wait. Even if they're successful, the transplanted organs max out at two pregnancies.

Doctors in the U.K. are also working on womb transplants, but they're taking a different tack, using only uteruses from dead or dying donors. That's because donating is a little more complicated than giving a kidney:

He said a womb transplant was like a radical hysterectomy but it requires taking a bigger chunk of the surrounding blood vessels to ensure adequate blood flow, raising the risk of complications for the donor. Smith said British officials don't consider it ethical to let donors take such chances for an operation that isn't considered life-saving.

Advertisement

Obviously this would be a big medical advancement if it works, but for now, the procedure's future is a big, fat question mark: "What remains to be seen is whether this is a viable option or if this is going to be confined to research and limited experimentation," the director of an "Assisted Conception unit" at a London hospital told the AP.

One thing's for sure, though: insurance companies are just going to love it.

Video via.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Ok one thing I really will never ever understand, is that people feel the need to biologically reproduce to such a large extent they would freaking ask someone to have major surgery on THEIR behalf, then go through the same surgery themselves, and all the after care etc.etc.etc. ADOPT people, freaking ADOPT. Not to sound like a hippy, but the planet is over populated and the amount of orphan kids is mind boggling. But no! Biological reproduction, at ANY cost. Argh. Cant. Deal. With. It.