First Uterus Transplant Planned in U.S.

First Uterus Transplant Planned in U.S.

By Margaret Farley Steele

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Crossing new frontiers in infertility treatment and organ transplantation, Cleveland Clinic doctors hope to transplant a uterus from a deceased donor into a woman without one.

The innovative procedure — tentatively scheduled for the next few months — would enable a woman with ovaries but no uterus to become pregnant and deliver a child. Eight women have reportedly started the screening process.

These women were either born without a uterus — a condition that affects 1 of every 4,500 newborn girls — or have had their uterus removed or it is damaged, according to The New York Times.

The clinical trial, a first in the United States, was announced Thursday, a year after the first live birth from a uterine transplant occurred in Sweden. In Sweden, however, live donors are used. The Cleveland Clinic doctors decided on deceased donors to avoid putting healthy women at risk, the newspaper said.

A donor and recipient would have to have matching blood and tissue type.

The hospital plans to attempt the procedure 10 times before deciding whether to continue with it, according to the Times.

“There are women who won’t adopt or have surrogates, for reasons that are personal, cultural or religious,” said Dr. Andreas Tzakis, director of solid organ transplant surgery at a Cleveland Clinic hospital in Weston, Fla., who is spearheading the project.

“These women know exactly what this is about. They’re informed of the risks and benefits. They have a lot of time to think about it, and think about it again. Our job is to make it as safe and successful as possible,” he told the Times.

It’s thought that as many as 50,000 U.S. women might be potential candidates for the procedure.

The transplantation process is not without risks. The women must take powerful transplant anti-rejection drugs, undergo surgery to implant the uterus and likely face a subsequent surgery to remove the organ after one or two babies are born, the newspaper said.

Removing the donor uterus would limit the time spent taking the powerful anti-rejection drugs, the doctors explained.

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