Uterus transplants may be a thing of the immediate future, thanks to the surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic. They expect to become the first in the U.S. to transplant a uterus into a woman who lacks one, so she can become pregnant and give birth, according to The New York Times.
Eight women from around the country have begun the screening process at the Cleveland Clinic, hoping to be selected for transplants. The recipients will be healthy women who were born without a uterus, or had it removed, who do not have any other health conditions; the transplants will be temporary, however. After the recipient has children, the transplant will be removed, so she can stop taking transplant anti-rejection drugs.
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If the procedure is successful, it could change the lives of women who struggle with infertility–around 50,000 women in the United States could be candidates. Of course, there are huge risks involved, especially since the procedure is very new. But that hasn’t stopped one mom with two adopted children who has travelled more than 1,000 miles to the clinic, paying her own way. She stated:
“I crave that experience. I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel the baby move. That is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.”
Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, the main force behind the project, hopes to make the operation readily available in the U.S; as of now, Sweden is the only country where uterine transplants have been done successfully, with a uterus from a live donor, not a deceased one. Tzakis states how this could also change the face of surrogacy, as he believes a transplant is more ethical:
“You create a class of people who rent their uterus, rent their body, for reproduction. It has some gravity. It possibly exploits poor women.”
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It is important to note that because the fallopian tubes cannot be connected to the transplanted uterus, recipients must go through in-vitro fertilization. Before the transplant, the woman will also be given hormones in order for her ovaries to produce at least 10 eggs.
We sincerely hope the surgery goes as planned, because it could change the lives of women everywhere by allowing many to experience the gift of pregnancy.