Swedish Team Conducts Successful Womb Transplants in 9 Women
January 14, 2014 2:03 PM
We'll have to wait and see if they can carry their own biological children
Women born without a womb -- a syndrome known as MRKH -- may now have some hope of being able to birth their own child thanks to new research from Sweden.
, nine women have received womb transplants in Sweden, and with the exception of a few minor issues, all nine have been successful. However, it remains unclear if the new wombs will produce babies.
The research is led by Dr. Mats Brannstrom, who is chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Gothenburg. The transplants began in September 2012.
The nine women received
from living female members of their families. Many former studies attempting to conduct womb transplants used dying or deceased women's wombs, and they failed to produce babies. One case used a womb from a living woman, but it had to be removed due to a blood clot. Some countries even consider it unethical to use the wombs of living women outside of life or death cases because it can cause complications for the donor, but the Swedish team hopes that using living wombs will help them better detect if there are any issues with the organs before they are transplanted.
The uteruses are not connected to the fallopian tubes after transplant, meaning the women are unable to get pregnant naturally. Instead, the women had eggs from their ovaries removed to create embryos via in-vitro fertilization before the transplants, and the embryos were frozen. The next step will be to place the embryos into the new wombs so the women can carry their own children.
Brannstrom said the nine women are doing well, albeit an infection in one patient and some minor rejections in the others. But Brannstrom said these are not reason enough to worry or remove them. Many of the women had periods six weeks after the transplants, which is an early sign that the wombs were healthy and functional.
Brannstrom said he and his team could start transferring embryos into the uteruses as soon as the coming months, but are just keeping a watchful eye on the women for right now to make sure everything stays in working order.
Once childbirth were to take place (if that happens), the team would take the uteruses out so that the women could stop taking the anti-rejection drugs. These drugs can take a toll on health, causing high blood pressure, swelling, diabetes and also some types of cancer. The team said the anti-rejection drugs would not affect the embryos.
There are no guarantees of babies in the end, but it's certainly a start.
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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