Lab Rats Test Womb Transplant; May Provide Hope for Women

October 11th, 2010
Lab Rats Test Womb Transplant; May Provide Hope for Women

Infertile women who have tried every possible method at conceiving and carrying a baby full term may find success in the form of a womb transplant.

Womb transplants could become the next major infertility treatment, according to Swedish scientists from the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg. The team has successfully tested a womb transplant procedure on lab rats and hopes to attempt the transplant on a human in the next 2 years.

This breakthrough in medical science is “fantastic news for patients who do not have a functioning uterus and want to have children,” said Dr. Cesar Diaz-Garcia, the team’s leader.

Dr. Diaz-Garcia went on to say that the wombs could be harvested from brain dead people, living donors and even relatives of infertile women. During the procedure, the transplanted womb would be linked to the patient’s blood supply and remain there for the time it would take for a female to have the offspring she desired.

Any child born by way of a transplanted womb would have to be delivered by Caesarean section since a transplanted womb is unlikely to endure regular labour. The womb could be taken away during the C-section to minimize the chances of side effects from longer term use of anti-rejection drugs.

Furthermore, Professor Mats Brannstrom, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Gothenburg said that womb transplants technology “has raised the prospect of creating a male pregnancy with a donor uterus and fertility treatment.”

This work is not being carried at by the team at Sahlgrenska University, however. While the news of a womb transplants is incredible and promising, the spokeswoman for the UK’s Infertility Network, Susan Seenan, said that there are a lot of moral and ethical considerations to be taken into account.

In 2000, a human transplant was unsuccessfully attempted in Saudi Arabia, but the womb, which came from a live donor, was rejected after three months. This rejection may come about because surgeons had not worked out how to connect the blood vessels properly.

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