Friday, November 13, 2015

Doctors in U.S. to Try Uterus Transplants

New York Times (Nov. 13, 2015): Uterus Transplants May Soon Help Some Infertile Women in the U.S. Become Pregnant, by Denise Grady: 

The New York Times reports that in the next few months, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic plan to be the first in the U.S. to transplant a uterus into a woman so she may become pregnant.

Uterine transplantation is a new frontier, one that pairs specialists from two fields known for innovation and for pushing limits, medically and ethically — reproductive medicine and transplant surgery. If the procedure works, many women could benefit: An estimated 50,000 women in the United States might be candidates. But there are potential dangers.

The transplant process involves a lengthy surgery, and a one year recovery period before trying to become pregnant. Like other transplant recipients, women who undergo the procedure must take anti-rejection drugs.  Their pregnancies will be considered high risk.  The transplant will be temporary, and the uterus will be removed after the woman has one or two babies.  The procedure has been performed successfully at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.  When asked by the NYT about possible ethical concerns, Jeffrey Kahn a medical ethicist at Johns Hopkins who is unconnected to the research stated, "We're doing lots of things to help women have babies in ways that were never done before.  It falls into that spectrum."

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