Uterus Transplant Planned

A couple of years ago, I mentioned that researchers were making headway toward transplanting a human uterus. Now doctors in Sweden have scheduled an experimental transplant between 56-year old Eva Ottosson and her 25-year old daughter Sara. The daughter has Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH) syndrome and was consequently born without a uterus. If the procedure is successful, the uterus that she herself lived in for nine months will be implanted inside her own body. It will be a challenging operation:

Dr Mats Brannstrom, who is leading the medical team, said a womb transplant remained one of the most complex operations known to medical science.

He said: “Technically it is lot more difficult than transplanting a kidney, liver or heart. The difficulty with it is avoiding haemorrhage and making sure you have long enough blood vessels to connect the womb.

“You are also working deep down in the pelvis area and it is like working in a funnel. It is not like working with a kidney, which is really accessible.”

Link -via Gizmodo | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user tofslie used under Creative Commons license

Are they sure this won't result in a grand-father paradox and consequently compress time into an infinitessimally small point? (that's a joke by the way)
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The mother is 57 years old, and so is the uterus. I hope the children (if it works) won't be too crippled at birth.

If I was the doctor, I'd refuse to do this operation. There are plenty of orphans who need parents.
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lewis82, sometimes it's nearly impossible to adopt a child, thanks to weird state regulations. I know a couple that couldn't have children and spent a year trying to adopt a child before the state told them their request to adopt was denied, but refused to give them a reason (they are wealthy, wife spends a lot of time at home, safe neighborhood, both parents took parenting classes and even had a room ready). They were rejected twice more before the emotional strain became too much. For a couple like this, this sort of surgery could be a godsend.
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Is it really worth making a loved one go through an operation so that you can have a child?

I understand the desire for children. But, for pete's sake, the mother/donor... She shouldn't be undergoing operations so that the child she raised can have a child, too.

I understand that some people do not really want to adopt, but is it really the end of the world if you cannot have a child? A disappointment, yes, of course. But even if the mother/donor is willing, it seems to me like such an incredibly selfish thing to ask of her...
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Good luck to the mother and the daughter. I hope it works.
And @ lewis.... just b/c the uterus is from an older woman doesn't mean the daughter would have a higher risk of birth defects. If the daughter's ovaries are perfectly healthy, then she could have a perfectly healthy child just like anyone else.

And adoption isn't for everyone. So sick and tired of people telling infertile couples to just adopt. Have that 20+ thousand dollars to give to them so they can adopt? Can you guarantee that they'll even be allowed to adopt? No?
How about telling fertile couples to "just adopt" when they want more kids.

And lulu... why is this selfish. I'm sure the mother was more than willing and I'm sure the operation will probably only be slightly more careful than a regular hysterectomy which women get all the time.
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I'm a 26-year-old woman, and I'd love to not have a uterus. It would mean no more annoying menstruation!

I would've been glad to give this young lady my uterus.
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The latest on uterine transplant
Youtube.com uterine transplant
Woman to Receive Uterus Transplant From Mom. Will It Work? By Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer
14 June 2011 5:05 PM ET ShareA Swedish woman may soon become the first person ever to carry a baby in the very womb from which she was born. Sara Ottosson, a 25-year-old who, like 1 in 5,000 women, was born without a uterus, has been shortlisted for an experimental uterus transplant surgery. Sara's would-be womb donor is Eva Ottosson, her mother.

"I've had two daughters, so it's served me well," Eva Ottosson told the press, referring to her uterus. "[Sara] needs it more than me."

Sara, like all women whose wombs are missing, dysfunctional or were cancerous and had to be removed at a young age, cannot naturally conceive and give birth to a child. Like many others, Sara is so desperate to do so that she has volunteered for a completely unproven surgery — one that has never before worked in humans — in which her mother's uterus will be transplanted into her abdomen. It will then be implanted with one of Sara's own eggs, fertilized in vitro. After delivering the baby nine months later, Sara will go back under the knife to have the borrowed uterus removed.

Kidney Transplant SurgeryUnderstanding Kidney Transplants Information and Advice for Patientswww.TransplantExperience.comStem Cell Study - HeartNow enrolling patients with heart disease in adult stem cell trial.www.texasheart.orgThrough Their EyesShared, first-hand ovarian cancer survivor stories through their eyesCancerCenter.com/CareThatNeverQuitsAds by Google A previous attempt at uterus transplantation was made in 2000 in Saudi Arabia, but the recipient's body rejected the foreign organ, and it had to be removed four months into her pregnancy. Now, a team led by Mats Brannstrom, a Swedish surgeon, thinks that enough research has since been done to try the procedure again. Sara hopes the team will choose her for their first attempt.

Edwin Ramirez, a gynecologist at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Cali., who leads a group that also hopes to transplant a uterus within the next two years, told Life's Little Mysteries what makes the surgery so unique, and why a mother-daughter donor-recipient team provides the best shot for pulling it off.

Will it work?

"A uterus transplant is complex in the sense that the pelvis is more vascular than other parts of the body — it has more blood vessels — so the risk of bleeding during uterus removal is higher than with other organs," Ramirez said. He and his colleagues are developing a protocol for the organ removal procedure by operating on sheep and monkeys.

Another issue is organ rejection: When you receive an organ transplant, your immune system treats the foreign organ as an invading enemy and tries to break it down. Organ recipients must stay on a regimen of "immunosuppressive" drugs for the rest of their lives to stifle this natural response. Sometimes, though, the drugs don't work — and they didn't work for the patient involved in the previous uterus transplant attempt.

Furthermore, immunosuppressive drugs have side effects (such as weakening the immune system's response to real infections and illnesses) which could be dangerous to both mother and fetus during pregnancy. An appropriate drug regimen thus needs to be designed specifically for uterus transplantation recipients.

Despite these complications, uterus transplantation is less complex overall than heart or liver transplantation, Ramirez noted; the procedure has simply been slower to develop because it isn't life-saving. "It's a little different than your traditional organ transplantation because we're dealing with a nonvital organ. It's more of a life-improving procedure," he said. [Read: Uterus Transplant: Q&A with Surgeon's Collaborator]

World's best mom

The mother of the recipient makes the ideal donor, Ramirez explained. The mother of an adult daughter is most likely in her late 50s or early 60s, past menopause, and is no longer in need of her uterus. "You're performing an operation on a female that really doesn't need to have her uterus removed, but she's doing it to benefit her daughter," he said.

Old age is no issue when it comes to the uterus: It can be brought back to full functionality at any point. "The uterus will always be functioning. If you give it estrogen, it's going to respond. If you prepare the uterus, it should work perfectly fine in the recipient," Ramirez said.

Only a mother-daughter pair who share the same blood type would be considered for surgery, Ramirez explained, because this lowers the chance of organ rejection. Having 50 percent of the same genes also means the mother-daughter pair might share similarly positioned blood vessels, he said, making it easier for surgeons to lock the transplanted organ into place in the daughter.

In short, he said, "If we can transplant a uterus into the recipient who actually was born out of that uterus there's less chance of rejection."

Medical competition

Ramirez and Brannstrom are colleagues who have worked together on uterus transplantation research in the past, Ramirez said, but now they lead separate teams, both of which would like to be the first to transplant a womb.

"From a personal standpoint, I feel that I know Brannstrom fairly well and I think he's making this public because he sees that our group is advancing fast," Ramirez said. "He doesn't want to be behind in research."

Ramirez said Brannstrom may well be ready to do the surgery within a year, but that his group is nearly ready, too. "We already have our patients screened and ready to go. Do I feel like I can do it tomorrow? Yes. But I'm a perfectionist," Ramirez said.

Brannstrom could not be reached for comment.
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Dr. Del Priori was interviewed by ABC in Nov. 2006. He was going to the first "uterine transplant doctor" . He had it all ready, a Manhattan hospital et. This is 2011.????? What happen?
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Dr. Del Priori was interviewed by ABC on Nov. 2006. He was going to the first "uterine transplant doctor" . He had it all ready, a Manhattan hospital etc. This is 2011.????? What happen?
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I doubt that this project will be done soon.
I found Mrs. Luz comment very interesting. Is someone using the media for free publicity? Lets not give the public false hopes.
Looking at the background of the uterus transplant a Dr. Del Priori predicted in 2006 to be almost ready too and later some British doctors.
I found the video on Youtube.com, very informative.
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