Swedish Doctors Transplanted Nine Wombs Successfully
In Sweden, doctors were able to successfully transplant a total of nine wombs. The female patients had received the womb donations from close relatives. The doctors announced that once the patients are fully recovered, they could start trying for a baby.
"This is a new kind of surgery. We have no textbook to look at," stated Dr. Mats Brannstrom, who is the chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Gothenburg.
According to the Associated Press, the female patients were either born without a uterus or had to have their uterus removed due to cervical cancer. The participants are mostly in their 30s and want children. The patients, who were released from the hospital within a few days after the surgery, are doing extremely well. The doctors revealed that some of them had experienced their monthly menstrual cycles just six weeks after the transplants. Menstruation is a key sign that the wombs are functioning. One of the patients developed an infection while others experienced minor rejection periods in which their bodies identified the womb as a foreign entity. However, none of the patients needed intensive care.
The transplants took place in September 2012. The new wombs were not connected to the women's fallopian tubes and thus, the women cannot get pregnant on their own. The doctors have already harvested some eggs and are prepared to help the patients with in-vitro fertilization. The doctors stated that after two pregnancies, the wombs would need to be surgically removed. Since these women need to take anti-rejection medications, the doctors are unsure how safe it would be for them to take these medications for their entire life. The medications have been tied to hypertension, diabetes, swelling and increased cancer risk.
"Mats has done something amazing and we understand completely why he has taken this route, but we are wary of that approach," said Dr. Richard Smith, head of the U.K. charity Womb Transplant UK. "The principal concern for me is if the baby will get enough nourishment from the placenta and if the blood flow is good enough,"
With the success from the surgeries, the doctors are optimistic about the future of womb transplants, which have yet to yield childbearing wombs. There were two womb transplants conducted in Turkey and Saudi Arabia but neither woman could get pregnant.
The University of Gothenburg is head of the initiative to help transplant wombs and allow women to give birth to their own children. The university is also planning on running the first ever womb-transplant workshop next month.