Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Uterus transplant


A hospital in New York is looking into offering the first uterus transplant in the United States. Ok, before you jump to conclusions, this is not a comedy post. I know a lot of you out there in blogland are reaching down deep for that late night talk show joke and punchline, but this thing is seriously being talked about as a possibility.

According to the article, the hospital ethics board has conditionally signed off on these preliminary plans. As you already know, ethics boards sometimes make divisive decisions - just ask the hospital board who decided on The Ashley Treatment.
Organ transplants usually are performed to save lives, but increasingly they are being done to improve quality of life. Hand transplants and the recent partial face transplant of a woman in France are examples.
There are many questions that need to be answered before this possibility becomes a reality. When asked if it could be done, lead physician Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore said, "I believe it's technically possible to do." But, just because we CAN do this from a technical standpoint, does this mean we SHOULD do this? That's my ethical question. I also have the following questions.

Medical questions: Anti-rejection transplant drugs are powerful stuff. Yes, we have some data which states that the pregnancy rate for transplant patients are "not much worse than for the general population." Can this data be correlated to uterine transplant patients? How much do anti-rejection drugs cross the placenta barrier? What would be the effect to the fetus/baby?

Moral questions: You have to know that this will be another platform for the abortion debate to take place. (By the way, welcome to those of you out there who found this post from a Google search). Presuming the transplant goes ok (and that's a big IF at this point), what if the pregnancy goes awry? What if the life of the mother is at risk and/or the life of the fetus/baby is at risk? Both sides of this debate will definitely make their point of view known.

Legal questions: The malpractice attorneys are preying, er, praying that this procedure becomes a reality. The liability here is huge. The potential for medical problems are everywhere starting with the transplant itself, then the pregnancy, then the potential complications of anti-rejection transplant drugs.
The cost is unknown but could top $500,000, including two weeks of hospitalization, Del Priore said. He expects the cost to be shared by the hospital, charities that support infertility research, the patient, and insurers who cover the embryo creation part.
My final question is a financial question. I know I'm going to be attacked for this comment, but here goes: Is all of this worth $500,000? I know people are going to say, "Well, Dr. A, isn't life priceless to you?" Or, "You don't know what it's like to be told that from a medical standpoint, you can NEVER have the possibility of the pregnancy and childbirth experience."

Those are good points. But, you sense my pessimism here. Personally, I don't think uterus transplants will ever happen. Even if they could be technically done, I don't think they should be done. My 2 cents worth...

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi doc. Pardon my naivety. What woman would want to have this transplant? Why? Improve the quality of life? How?

We're certainly living in this crazy, crazy, crazy world where money has turned every (...) thing into merchandise...huh?! Ouch! Uugh!

Thank you for letting us in on this!

R2K said...

: )

Anonymous said...

I'm on your side of this issue -- there are just too many things that can go wrong for such an unidentified benefit...

Anonymous said...

I have to say, the only reason I can see for a uterus transplant is for childbearing, and I don't know that I could ever recommend, medically speaking (aside from all of the ethical issues) that someone get pregnant in a transplanted uterus. Afterall, we don't know what the blood supply will be like, and even if the blood supply in the uterine arteries is good, chronic rejection can occlude small vessels (like the spiral arteries needed to supply the placenta with maternal blood). There's all sorts of risks, preeclampsia, IUGR, fetal demise... it just sounds like a terribly bad idea, medically speaking.

And... what's worse? To be told you can never get pregnant or to loose the pregnancy at a periviable gestational age or even term? That's a terrible thing for people. This is a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

The short answer is that it shouldn't (and probably will never) replace adoption.

But -- legal liability? No danger here. Let me give you the 10 cent explanation:

Medical malpractice (we prefer to call it "professional negligence" these days) occurs when (1) a doctor fails to live up to the applicable standard of care and (2) injury results.

There are a lot of people -- a lot of doctors included -- who think that a bad results means malpractice liability. T'ain't so. I don't mean to say that a doctor who has a bad result won't get sued -- the courthouse doors are open to practically anyone; what I'm saying is a bad result alone will (almost certainly) not a guilty verdict make.

(You can never get a lawyer to take an absolute position. Can't be done.)

Anyway, back to "standard of care" -- that's a hard concept to pin down, but it involves what other doctors are doing in similar circumstances. Here's the definition from the current Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (the blanks are where you fill in the profession -- doctor, say, or *gulp* lawyer -- the parenthetical and bracketed phrases are choices that the trial attorneys can argue about based on the evidence):

“Professional negligence” by a __________ is the failure to do something that a reasonably careful __________ [practicing in the same or similar localities] __________ would do, or the doing of something that a reasonably careful __________ would not do, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence.

The phrase [“violation of the standard of care”] [“deviation from the standard of practice”] means the same thing as “professional negligence.”

[To determine what the standard [of care] [of practice] required in this case, you must rely upon (opinion testimony from qualified witnesses) (evidence of professional standards) (evidence of by-laws/rules regulations/policies/procedures) (evidence of community practice) (and other sources). You must not attempt to determine this question from any personal knowledge you have.] The law does not say how a reasonably careful __________ would act under these circumstances. That is for you to decide.


Experimental surgery like a uterus transplant is by definition not what 'other doctors' are doing.

You almost couldn't have a breach of the standard of care in an experimental surgery of this kind unless it was for something simple, basic and obvious: Coming out of the OR with one less sponge than you went in with... that kind of thing.

There would be waivers like you wouldn't believe -- carpal tunnel might have to be disclosed as a possible complication (from signing all the forms).

No, Doc, the lawyers wouldn't have anything to do with this one... not unless it becomes commonplace... and that gets me back to where I started this over-long comment....

Dr. A said...

Counselor, I think we can agree to disagree on this one. Your point is a good one and no one could win given the points that you have brought forward.

But, this is America where any can sue anyone else for just about anything. For some people, the seriousness of the allegation is more important than the final result. Just ask Mike Nifong.

For some people the public embarrassment of a person and the ruining of a career is revenge enough for a "bad outcome" (however someone defines a bad outcome).

I don't say this to gain sympathy, but there are times I live in professional fear. Fear that one of the many decisions I make a day when it comes to patients may end up in someone's "bad outcome." But, I knew that going in and it's a reality I have to live with.

So, I agree a winning case would be difficult in the points you laid out. But, for some people out there, the process is more important than the final result.

Sarebear said...

Interesting, but in effect it seems to be experimenting on the potential baby. And that's a bad thing.

What do you think of the face transplant? From everything I've watched and seen and heard, it looks like it was a really good thing for her; not perfect, and lots of pills to be on the rest of your life, but she didn't have lips (I don't think) before the surgery, having been torn off, among other things . . .

She can communicate, talk (I think she could talk before but it was much harder to understand), she can KISS her partner, . . . I know that sounds like a little thing, but . . .

Anyway! All sorts of ethical, emotional, and psychological ramifications of it, in addition to the medical. Interested in what you might think of that case, that type of surgery, or whatnot.

Anonymous said...

Amazing what I learn here, DrA.

I still think there are enough children waiting to be adopted that a transplant like this is unnecessary.
That's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Sign me as another one against uterine transplants.

Anonymous said...

I would totally agree with this. I f you want to have a child that bad adopt! There are so many kids that could have better lives with the money that would be spent on something so crazy.

Anonymous said...

While a uterine transplant isn't the Mother of All Bad Ideas, I think a more fitting experimental procedure would be a full cerebral transplant. Clearly the brain trust in charge of this project is more than a couple of dendrites shy of a full synapse. Aside from the very real threat of rejection, it would seem that the weaknesses inherent from reattaching the ligaments, blood vessels and nerves would pose too high a risk for any realistic possibility of a full term pregnancy. That's a lot of money to throw away on the promise of nothing but more heartache. Besides, with a half million dollars, a properly motivated person could buy a whole boatload of kids.

heromd said...

I wonder how many surgical procedures are technically feasible that the medical community has decided to never do. Any at all?

Anonymous said...

The thing is, that all of these opinions are based on hypotheses.

So I will make another hypothesis. What if, this whole uterine transplant-pregnancy-normal delivery of a normal newborn does work?

After the transplant, I believe that they will wait a few years so that the mother will not have to take immunosuppressive drugs during the gestation. If there is no rejection, then, as with other organs, this one too has the possibility to work.

I understand the ethical issues, but I believe that yes, all this money and 'experimenting' is worth it if it will work.

A few hundred years ago, the Hippocratic oath stated that it is immoral and unethical to use invasive methods to treat a patient. If that were not overcome, where we be now without surgery? After all, that is exactly the way science evolved. By trial and error.

We can talk and talk about it, but we will never find out where we really stand, unless it is done.

Anonymous said...

Not liking this idea too much. I know it's easy for me to say that being pregnant is overrated because I didn't have any difficulties getting pregnant, but I can't imagine subjecting myself to such a procedure just for the possibility of MAYBE being able to bear a healthy child. There are other ways to become a parent (i.e., adoption) and, anyway, bearing a child is not the end all and be all in life -- Women whose reproductive organs don’t ‘work’ really shouldn’t consider themselves less of a woman because of it.

But if the transplant can be done, I say why stop with women? Maybe guys should be able to see what it's like to be pregnant. ;)

Kenneth F. Trofatter, Jr., MD, PhD said...

One of the first things we are taught in medical school when we enter, and one of the last admonitions that is given to us as we leave is "primum non noncere" - loosely translated, "above all, do no harm." Can a uterus transplant be done? Sure..., but should it be done, I don't believe so, especially in this day and age of sophisticated and efficient assisted reproductive technologies.

The ethical issues here are foremost. This procedure offers no direct benefit to ANY woman. Indeed, the risks involved far outweigh any purported psychological benefits to women who were born without, or have prematurely lost, their uteri. The practitioners who will do this procedure will "be the first" (and for that will obtain some degree of fame, or notoriety) but there is likely to be no major contribution to medical knowledge or technology that will come out of this procedure either.

Years ago, I worked with a specialist in reproductive endocrinology who was very good at what he did, but unbearably cocky. A patient of mine, with whom I was good friends, asked for my recommendations for an infertility specialist to help her conceive another (high risk) pregnancy. I told her about my colleague, I assurred her of his capabilities, but knew they might have a bit of a personality clash. We joked about it for awhile, and then decided together that she would indeed see him, but would do so "on her terms." The plan was that she would tell him at the time of her initial visit that she was "interviewing REI specialists" and that her primary criteria for selection was their "previous success rates with uterus transplants." She did this, enjoyed the look of shock and submission on his face when she told him what she wanted, pretended to be miffed at his response of "never having done one," pretended to get up to leave, and then filled him in on the joke. They got along quite fine after that and I eventually delivered her next baby. Truth in fact, the technology to perform such a procedure was already available at that time, but the ethical and medical contraindications could not be surmounted then, and probably should not be now.

Anonymous said...

First, don't EVER tell a woman she can always just adopt. You have just undermined her experience and desire to be a mom, or at the very least, a standard human. I know, I lost my female "parts" to surgery long before I had made any reproductive decisions. That being said, when I first heard of this I couldn't imagine going through such an invasive surgery for such an unsure outcome. I mourn the children and pregnancy experiences I will never have, but I know what surgery to remove the uterus is like and I cannot imagine going through it again to have one put back in. Rejection, scarring, other side effects? Too much to risk, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

The Saudis already tried this once. Maybe more than once, but it only made the news once. The woman survived. The uterus was in place for 99 days.

Here is a link to one of the many stories about that procedure

http://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/saudsc.htm


I can think of a lot of better ways to spend research dollars.

Anonymous said...

I would do it. But I'll try anything once. I started out with IVF, conceived twins that were born premature and passed away, and then ended up needing a hysterectomy. As a social worker, I can assure you it is not that easy to "just adopt", although I am considering it at this point. But if uterine transplantation was tried and true, and resulted in successful pregnancy outcomes, I would definitely go for it.

Anonymous said...

Can you provide any information on where I might sign up to be considered for this transplant? I would also like to know the criteria they are looking for in potential candidates. I lost my uterus in 1996 due to fibroid tumors, I still have my ovaries and tubes.

Anonymous said...

I just find it ironic that to try and bring life into the world is being more controversial and facing more opposition than the when the issue of terminating life comes up.

Anonymous said...

"First, don't EVER tell a woman she can always just adopt. You have just undermined her experience and desire to be a mom, or at the very least, a standard human."

Oh and here, here to that blogger- thank you for enlightening people on this topic from a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

i agree with whoever wrote the paragrah about "First, don't EVER tell a woman she can always just adopt..."

i was born without a vagina and you could not possibly imagine what it feels like to hear it for the first time. i found out when i was 16 and what made it worse was that the doctor didn't seem to care too much of my feelings, like she was just telling another patient they had a cold.

when i first read articles about it, i was excited and would definately want to try it. it offers hope for people like me. and just like human nature, you want more what you can't have. i don't WANT to adopt. i want MY baby, i want the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. the need to feel "normal" is also such a strong feeling.

Anonymous said...

hi I am one of the people that would like to give my organs to a person how cant have children I have three sons and I would love to give a women that cant have children a chance to have a child of their own giving them my organs for that chance you would find that alot of women would give the organ for free its all about Insurance not the good will and hope that you could make a family or women very happy i have o- blood type that makes me some one that could offer any blood type person a good chace i want to give my organs for the chance to make a family like i have and love

Pamela said...

Hello, I have two healthy chikdren and I have had one miscarriage. The miscarriage devestated me and later I had to have my cervix and uterus removed due to possible cancerous cells. I would give my left arm to be able to have another child. I only wanted to have one more and to lose that abilty has been the hardest thing that I have ever had to deal with. I feel like most women can't wait to have their pregancy's over but I enjoyed every moment of it, even the day that I was nauseas all day and all night. The idea that MY baby was growing in me and the way that they feel when the move in my womb and when they get bigger you can actually see them move and to me that is the most exciting thing I have ever experienced minus the actual birth of my two children.
I hope they do profect this transplant because I will jump at the change to be able to bare a child with my soon to be husband so that we can have a child between us to join our family's together. He has 1 son and I have one of each, now we just need another daughter to make it even but we will both be over joyed to have a son or a daughter or even both.
I pray daily that a miracle happens so that I can have just one more child and if the doctors can make this dream come true, I will do whatever I have to, to be part of this miracle.

Anonymous said...

Here in Sweden surrogacy is forbidden. There are however research being carried out in the uterus transplant field.

So I guess the stanpoint in Sweden is that surrogacy is not ok, but uterus transplants should be.

I know nothing in this field, so I can't really have an opinion on the risks etc with either way.

I can only say that right now, if you are born without a uterus, there is really no hope at all and no help that can be received. Tough luck.

Sweden Again said...

There is a condition called MRKH where a girl is born without a uterus and without a vagina (or with a very short one).

In these cases, normally, plastic surgery is offered when the girls 16-18 years old. This to "create" a vagina so that these girls can have a fully functional sexlife, and possibly have a normal relationship with a man.

Still, there might be problems in forming familly for these girls. How does it affect relationships when you know, long before trying, that there will never be biological children. How does the partner think? Does everyone accept this from day 1 in the relationship? (Does international adoption come that natrual to every man, that they are ready to give up the idea of "own" children without even trying?)

With this in mind, is uterus transplants still very far out? Anyone with medical experience, please share your opinion? For example, would a uterus transplant be very more riskfull than surgery to create a vagina?

Anonymous said...

First of all......to the person who wrote : "First, don't EVER tell a woman she can always just adopt. You have just undermined her experience and desire to be a mom, or at the very least, a standard human."

I applaud you for you comment!!

My story started when my body went into premature ovarian failure when I was 23. I did conceive one child out of a rape and I kept that child who is now 17 yrs old and a TOTAL delight in my world. I was never able to conceive a child due to the POF. I then was also a victim to having a total hysterectomy due to pre-cancer cells in my uterus. I have since been married and have adopted a child. This child is also a total delight in my world. To have a child actually move inside you and be able to have the experience of a life growing and developing and hearing that child's first cries is something I will never have again and want more then anything.

I would love to learn more about this and dream of having my own child once again. Adoption is VERY hard, the challenges, the deceit from scammers, the people that get rich off of a child and that the minimum cost is $20 thousand dollars (IMHO~ baby selling) and the years of waiting. Yes, there are children out there waiting to be adopted, yes, they deserve to have a family want and love them, they are also victim to their environment, and they would make a family a happy family but what about the ones that dream of the baby, that will never get that chance to have that experience......why not give them the dream they look for? Why is it different then a hand transplant, hair transplant, a new nose (so you can look beautiful, or liposuction), these are not necessary but millions of doctors all over the world get rich off of people for it!

I think go for it, and if you want to have a uterus transplant more power to you! I would love to!!

sarah1 said...

i would just like to say as a women that signed up for the uterine transplant.. that all of you that have kids don't know the pain that we go through not being able to have kids ourselves and that it is not that easy to adopt.. you should really look into that before you say that it is the easiest thing to do.. i am all for the uterine transplant..i think it will make a huge difference in many womens lives and can't wait for them to start the procedure,,

Desperate to have a child said...

I am a happily married 35 Year old that has had a partial Hysterectomy and are longing to have a child. I don't know who can help me.

terri said...

I was born without a Uterus therfore I am a huge suppoter of this propoposed transplant. I found out when I was 18 and I guess tried to ignor it, besides I was young and wasn't interested in motherhood back then. I am now 28 and would love to one day have children and actually be able to carry my own child. So to those who think this a bad idea, put yourselves in the shoes of myself and many others who may not get to experience the joy of carrying a child. We only get one chance at life nad god know I'm here to make the most of mine and if that meant having a Uterus Transplant then I'm all for it!!!

Anonymous said...

i thick it wouldn't be a bad idea, there are lots of us that cant have a baby and woukd love to become a mother. like me i dont have a uterus anymore i have my overys but no uterus , and i would love to be able to carry a child. adoption is not the same as having your own child your own flesh and blood . someone you carried all those mths. that you felt kicking inside, moving and growing. i think everybody she be able to enjoy that. i think before they are done that the family should be know of the risk and it should be there choice to go on with it or not. and sign a waiver saying the doctor is not held resondable. and if you need someone to try it on i am willing to. i'll be the ginny pig. i rather take my chances then live my life not knowing the feeling of being a mother and how it feels to carry YOUR child and giving birth etc. so like i said i think it something that should be tried. and another point with adoption you have to have the perfect life and the perfect money to be able to adopt. what about us average wage people who just want to have a family? just like robin hood steal from the rich and give to the poor well wheres our robin hood? when do we get a break? and why should people with money be able to take away our lower class people last hope to be happy and have a family? try to think about other peoples feeling. this might be their only chance. i think you should go for it. it doesnt hurt to try..

Anonymous said...

I am 32 years old and had to have a hysterectomy. I am now with the man of my dreams and we cannot have children together. He has two kids and everytime I see or even hear about them it kills me.I feel that anything is worth the risk if it helps a person to be able to live a happy life.

ciaras3 said...

If you have ever had fertility issues then the questions have already been answered ......... if you have never dealt with it then you have no idea.

danielle said...

my name is Danielle and I think it would be wonderful to have a baby cause I was born without a uterus. I first found out when I was 16 and I did'nt care so much then, but now I am about to be twenty and about to be done with college and I would like to have babies some day cause now i see people with babies all the time and I think I can never have babies, and i will get very sad cause i have a fiancee we are about to get married and I want to give him kids. Now that i see that they are trying to do an implant of the utereus I am certainly going to look into this more so I'm going to pray every night that this can workI just wish I could be the first one that they can transplant the utereus in cause I would be so happy I hope it work's.

hopeful said...

I am 29 and I have a daughter that is 8. I remarried 5 years ago and he does not have any children. I had major complications during my preg and nearly died. I had to have a hysterectomy, which was verrrry heartbreaking. I long for a baby so bad, as does my husband. I think that the people that say "adopt" do not know what it is like not to be able to have a child. Yes, I think that adoption is a great thing. I was adopted. I thank God everyday that I was. I know that everything happens for a reason and I know that God has the best in mind for us all. If doctors can transplant hearts and other major organs, why not a uterus??? I have read the risks and complications, but what can u think of that doesnt have? I would be more than willing to give it a shot. If anyone knows how to sign up or get more info, please let me know my email is lmartin081978@yahoo.com

I sometimes question why some people just keep having baby after baby, and then we have to pay. They dont really want them but wont stop. And yet, here we all are that would go through life threating surgery just to hold a sweet baby of our own. Why???

Anyway, Best wishes to you all. Maybe one day it will all become a reality.. May God Bless you all!!!

Anonymous said...

Interresting debate and valuable opinions from both "sides". However, it's important to acknowledge that the medical questions are separate from the ethical and moral questions. If the medical issues are solved by research and cost/benefit and risk calculations based on this research are favourable, the new treatment can be introduced from a medical point of view. But that does'nt mean that our moral/ethical perception of the treatment is positive. Think of the public debates at the time of introduction of transplantaiton of solid organs or IVF! An interresting feature of our minds is however that we get used to all things new and tend to displace our moral/ethical standpoint towards accepance (if it was negative from the start).

Transplantation of the uterus as a possible future treatment of certain kinds of female infertility is under investigation. There is no global consensus on what criterias that has to be met before a new human trial is performed (one failed attmpt was made in Saudi-Arabia year 2000), but I don't think any institution is prepared to finance this procedure unless the risk levels are reasonably low and there is a fair chance of success.

A handful of groups are performing research on experimental uterus transplantation with the aim of developing a clinical procedure.

If you want to know what has been done in this research the past few years (peer reviewed scientific articles and reviews) go to:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez
and copy and paste this phrase:

(uterus AND transplantation AND fageeh) OR (uterus AND transplantation AND brannstrom) OR (uterus AND transplantation AND del priore) OR (uterus AND transplantation AND ramirez)

That covers about all of substance that has been published in the past years. Some more "news" in the scentific press can be found in Nature (2007 Feb 1;445(7127):466-7).

Keep the discussion going!

Anonymous said...

Firstly those of you who can have children do not have a right to comment, It is not easy to adopt! Nor is it to find a surrogate! In NZ there are 40 couples wanting to adopt per one child!!! Being told that you cannot have children is not an easy thing, you feel worthless, and the one thing that everyone expects of you or that you want so badly is taken away from you, not only you but your partner, your parents, parters parents brothers and sisters, they are all affected. I will put my hand up to be the first uterus transplant in NZ anyday!

Anonymous said...

I was born without a uterus. This is known as vaginal agenesis. or MRKH symdrome. I will gladly sign up for the pure chance at having a period like my "every day normal" girlfriends. And than the posability of having a child. WOW! I have stuggled in the past as if I were a freak. I know now that I am uniquly perfect. But to be offered the opertunity to even maybe carry my own chil! How could this be a bad thing? While there are women out there who sell there children and I long to be a mother. I hope to see this become a very succesful operation.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doc my fiance'and I long to have a child so very badly.Please make this be possible.Every time i see a baby I cry inside.I pray everyday that we may be able to have a child.You see I dont have a uterus anymore;I almost died with after my daughter's birth;thing is I have this gut feeling that the docter did something wrong.I say this because when i call both doc.they just turn me away to eachother;never finding anything out.What are they hiding from me.To make a long story short one doc took care of dilvery and the other took care of the surgey.A peace of my plancta got stuk in my uterus. I have a friend that will give her uterus to us so that we may have a child.Only problem is we dont have that kind of money.Please help us.Mommy2jj_tt@comcast.net

MaryAnne said...

I would be more than willing to have this surgery. To have my own child would be the best thing that could happen to me. I am a DES daughter who had th have a complete hysterectomy at the age of 19 1/2. This surgery would be a dream come true to me. All the risks would be worth it.

Anonymous said...

I too was born without a uterus and 2/3 of my vagina. I went through manual dilation of the rest of my vagina which has offered me the reality of a wonderfully normal sex life. (I was told this is "mullerian agenesis" by a specialist in this particular condition as well as other congenital anomalies).
Just the thought of a uterine transplant being a possibility makes me feel like I have more options than surrogacy and adoption. I think just having another option makes me feel good, "normal", etc, like I can decide how to become a mother instead of feeling like I'll never be able to be one which just tears me up inside when I think of it that way. I've always known that I wanted to be a mom, ever since I was little. I just never thought about HOW. Now I think that is actually ironic.
Obviously there are tremendous risks with any organ transplant, less so if the donor is a relative (?), and of course noone would go into it lightly. There is so much controversy over lots of surgeries that are performed today. It is impossible to judge an individuals reason for undergoing such a surgery, especially if you have not experienced what they have. I would definitely be interested in learning more.

Anonymous said...

I'm 19 yrs old and was also born without a uterus. And it's called incomplete mullerian agensis syndrome. and it is like 1 in a million girls are born with this. they're not sure what causes this to happen. Like the above, I have also known that I wanted to be a mommy. I have always wanted to experience the joys of pregnancy but sadly I can't. Now with the talk of uterus transplanting I can possibly experience this. Now I have always wanted to adopt as well, but this does not compare to the ability to bear your own child.

Anonymous said...

"I was born without a vagina and you could not possibly imagine what it feels like to hear it for the first time". This quote says so much. How could anyone ever know what it's like to be like us? Being born without a uterus is unheard of. Not being able to bear children is totally taboo. The one thing women are supposed to do (other than make more $$ than our boyfriends ;) ) is have babies. Our bodies are designed for reproduction. Every curve on a woman's body has a purpose. Our hips, breasts, and relatively narrow ribcages are all there for a reason. And that reason is for child bearing, whether we choose to have children or not. But to not even have that option at all is really hard to take. That predetermined fate was a nightmare for me. It's hard to forget the first time I was diagnosed with MRKH. I felt so empty and worthless and I cried the whole day. The thougth that kept going through my mind was, "what is the point of living if I can't reproduce?". I felt like a freak. I mean, what kind of girl does not get her period? It took me a while to get over the initial shock. I'm still coping with it and I still cry about it. But it doesn't and shouldn't slow you down. It's just something that you have to learn to deal with.

So in response to "Sweden", this is what I have to say:

You could not possibly know what it's like to be in our shoes. We don't want your pity. We are not freaks and we sure as hell aren't deformed. Please be a little more open minded. To say something like, "there is really no hope at all and no help that can be received. Tough luck" is just downright ignorant. Personally, I would not want a uterus transplant. But that doesn't mean that I don't support those who do decide to go under the knife. I know there is still hope for all of us. Instead of swatting away these ideas to possibly better one's life, just stop and think. Open your mind. Think of what it would feel like for YOU or someone you love to be in this situation. Sure, it may seem far fetched, but there are so many women like this. One in 5,000 women have MRKH.

Gabriella said...

I was born with a split uterus. I am 21 years old and I never had a period.This has affected so many of us women. It is such a sensitive and rough thing to live with as a women everyday. We need to feel complete. Having a period every month and the ability to have life beyond your own, is a woman. Thats what makes us women. It is an impossible love that I want to experince and cherish with my husband. I wan to feel life moving and growing inside of me. That was taken from me without my choice or wrong doing. You can't possibly have an accurate opinion if you have never been through this. The feeling everyday everynite. You do not feel complete, no matter how much you want to. U get told your never gonna have a period or beable to carry your own children.. its absolutely devastating. If they are finding a way to make that possible for us women who cannot carry our own, THEN PLEASE LET THEM CREATE A MIRACLE!! A miracle for us. We never asked for this we deserve a right to try. Its our lives too. I would com[pletely sign up for this surgery ASAP! It is the most promising news I have heard in a long time. PLease try and understand this means the world to me and thousands of women like me. If you could be a helping hand to us and our needs, you will see how rewarding life would be. You would be changing someone's life. Mine included. Dont shut out this miracle please. Ive been waiting many years for this.

heather said...

I have never wanted to face the fact that i am different i was 16 years old when i found out that i was this way an i still do not want to face the fact that i will never be a mother. i have always wanted to carry my own child and have a family i am now 20 years old and i do not ever get close to anyone because i dont want them to now im different. i have never been in a relationship longer then 2 months. the last guy i was with talked about how he wanted to have kids and a big family i walked out an have not seen him since. the bad thing about that is i have known him forever we when to school together. i think this would be a good idea but also no i would give someone like me a false hope in having a child of there own but just knowing that there was a chance that i could carry my OWN child is out there it would be really nice this would be a wonderful surgry to have the last one i had was to make me a vigina since i just had the start of one and that is it

Megan said...

When I was 15 i found out that i didn't have a uterus thats the only thing that i was missing. I am now 21 and all i can think about is having a family. unlike any other woman in the US i cant just get knocked up. It makes me feel horriable and my relationships suffer because i dont feel like a real woman, anyone who has a problem with a uterus transplant doesn't understand what it is like in one day to have the oppurtunity of kids just go out the window and adoption is great but i want to feel the joy of having the baby inside of me

Anonymous said...

My younger sister who is trying to start a family may lose her uterus due to an operation. I am much older, with grown-up children and a healthy uterus. I would love nothing more than to be able to give her my uterus should she need it. What is wrong with this?

Anonymous said...

My name is Chrissie....I had an emergency partial hysterectomy due to fibroid tumors on 11/5/2007...i was 36 years old....had one biological child and one adopted child....I had tried to get pregnant for 6 years with a second child....had every test available and they could find nothing wrong...we adopted in 2006...it was a miracle! I will acknowledge that adoption is beautiful and I had always wished to adopt even if I could have my own children...It took ovr 2 years....we had three babies fall through....one a week before th due date and thousands of dollars spent...no to mention the heartache...it also took a year fro the adoption to be finalized with 2 social workers visiting the home once a month, (seperate appointments), during that year. All That being said I would do it all over again to have my beautiful daughter! And still I longed to have another child...everyone said now u will get pregnant since we adopted and the pressure was off- only to have a hysterectomy a year and a half later. I just never expected my fertility to end so abruptly...it felt so final...it felt so unfair..I expected every month for 6 years to be pregnant only to get my period ever time....As it turns out my husband at the time had a vasectomy and never told me...he went on to sa that he did not want to be married with children. We have since divorced and I have met the most kind, loving, wonderful, caring man any woman could hope for! He loves me, he loves my children...if I could give him a child it would be amazing...I often look at his beautiful face ad imagine what our child would look like and be like...If this procedure were available I would definately be interested...just to imagine is hopeful....ther are many things that happen in this world that people thought at one time were impossible maybe even a little crazy...when did we become so cynical to think we know what should be best for everyone else....when did wanting to become a pregnant mother turn frivolous or unnecessary....honesty without compassion is cruelty.....contempt prior to investigation is contagious...never give up!

Anonymous said...

I am a 30 yr old woman who is unable to have children and i think this is a great idea!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

i know a lot of people disagree with this procedure,but if this is a chance for someone like me who can not have any children,due to a historectomy cause of cancer, then i would consider it myself. its easy to say adopt a child, but its hard, as my husband and i know. we have no children and would love the chance to have our own.

Anonymous said...

my name is Angel.I had to have a partial hyst. and was not ready to stop having children I am hoping that this great new medical break-through continues to go forward. any new updates on this surg.? please let me know I cannot find any updates anywhere and have been looking for days!!!! thank you for this web page so that we can help each other, wether it be big or small :)

Mariel said...

Mariela: Great debate. Read
Natalie Wolchover on uterine transplant.
Natalie Wolchover
A 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.
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.

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.

World's best mom

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.

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.

Anonymous said...

Marlen: Please read an article written by Natalie Wolchover on Uterine transplant. Interesting.

Ginger said...

All these nay sayers are people who probably have had the gift of giving birth. I am 34 years old and I pray everyday that more info becomes available for this. I waited til I had the job and the great husband before I attempted to have kids then just when we were ready......BOOM UTERINE Cancer. Im ok now but there are times when I sit alone and cry because I cannot become a mother..Yes there are other options and I am looking into them but to be able to carry my own baby would be a blessing.

Anonymous said...

Are European doctors really ready? NO according to their own web site.
"Uterus Transplantation Project"
Under, Where are we today? it says it will occur within the next two years.
We heard this Story before in 2006. The news was all over the world that Dr. Del Priori was ready with his New York Hospital. Later some British doctors claim to be almost ready. So how serious are these doctors?
Are they seeking free publicity.
In the most recent article they do not give any scientific facts to back them up.