Scientists from Goteborg University in Sweden have announced that they have successfully achieved pregnancies in mice that had undergone uterus transplants. The research is reported in the Journal of Endocrinology.
Dr Mats Brannstrom and his colleagues transplanted uteruses into other mice, placing them alongside their existing uteruses in order to compare them. Following the transfer of the same number of fertilised eggs into both uteruses, three pregnancies were achieved in the existing womb and one in the transplanted womb. The researchers said that several mice have since been born by caesarian section from transplanted uteruses.
According to the research team, the number of pregnancies achieved in the transplanted uteruses was comparable to that which would be achieved normally, and the mice that were born from the transplants developed as well as any other mice.
Brannstrom said that the research in mice 'is a very important step towards doing this in humans. With this model we have the necessary research to do the developmental work and we hope to do this in humans within two to three years'. But Dr Richard Kennedy, secretary of the British Fertility Society, advised caution, saying that 'there are a number of major obstacles to overcome before this type of technology could even be considered in humans. If it happens at all, we're a decade away'.