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Mother to donate womb to her daughter

20 June 2011
Appeared in BioNews 612

A British woman has agreed to donate her womb to her daughter if she's selected for experimental womb transplant surgery to be performed by doctors at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Eva Ottosson, 56, told the BBC that this is the only chance for her daughter Sara, 25, who was born without a uterus and fully functioning reproductive organs, to have a child of her own barring surrogacy, which is prohibited in Sweden where Sarah lives.

Sara is one of around seven patients being evaluated by Dr Mats Brannstrom, who is leading the Swedish medical team, to establish patient suitability for the uterus transplant surgery which he wants to perform in five or six patients beginning early next year.

The surgery is high risk and has only been attempted once before in 2000 in a woman in Saudi Arabia using a womb from a 46-year-old donor transplanted into a 26-year-old. Complications due to blood clotting forced the uterus to be removed 99 days later.

In 2007, the Swedish team had some success in achieving a pregnancy in sheep, but others had fatal complications. Some scientists have criticised the procedure as too premature for human experimentation.

If the surgery goes ahead successfully, doctors will implant embryos created using her own eggs and her partner's sperm by IVF. Any birth will need to be by caesarean section. Provided all goes well, her mother's donated womb would have to be removed two to three years later to avoid future medical complications.

Dr Brannstrom admits that the procedure is much more technically demanding than a kidney, liver or heart transplant. 'The difficulty with it is avoiding haemorrhage and making sure you have long enough blood vessels to connect the womb', he told the Telegraph.

Ms Ottosson told the BBC that initially she thought it was a bit 'weird' for her daughter to use the same womb that she had developed in, but now they consider it to be equivalent to organ donation. She said they are focused on the risks of the surgery involved.

The procedure could bring hope to an estimated 15,000 women of childbearing age in the UK who are born without a uterus or have lost uterine function from damage or removal due to illnesses like cancer.

Mother to transplant womb to daughter
BBC News Health |  13 June 2011
UK mother agrees to donate her womb to daughter
The Guardian |  13 June 2011
World’s first womb transplant planned
The Telegraph |  13 June 2011
13 October 2014 - by Dr Barbara Kramarz 
A boy has become the first baby to be born to a womb transplant recipient....
24 September 2012 - by Ruth Retassie 
Two women in Sweden received uterus transplants from their mothers, with hopes it will allow them to conceive children of their own...
16 July 2012 - by Dr Victoria Burchell 
A charity has been launched to raise money for research that could allow the first womb transplants in the UK...
30 August 2011 - by Dr Charlotte Maden 
Researchers in Finland have discovered a genetic mutation potentially involved in the formation of uterine fibroids. Fibroids are the most common reason for hysterectomy, and 60 percent of women develop them before the age of 45...
1 August 2011 - by Dr Morven Shearer 
Last month news broke of an experimental womb transplantation surgery planned for early next year. With it came the possibility of women with an absent or non-functioning uterus carrying a child to term (see Roberts, 2011)....
10 April 2007 - by Heidi Nicholl 
A Swedish team has successfully carried out womb transplants in sheep, leading to pregnancy. So far the researchers have worked on perfecting the technique of reconnecting the blood vessels and have removed and replaced the uterus in individual animals - known as autologous transplantation. The team removed and...
11 September 2006 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Doctors at Hammersmith Hospital, London, aim to carry out the first successful womb transplant within two years, reported the Evening Standard. Doctors say that the womb would be taken from a dead donor and will only remain in the recipient for two or three years, or until...
26 June 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
BioNews reporting from ESHRE conference, Prague (sponsored by Planer cryoTechnology). By Dr Jess Buxton: Swedish scientists have successfully transplanted uteruses in sheep, an achievement that paves the way for women who do not have a womb to bear their own children. The team, based at the Sahlgrenska Academy at Goteborg...
27 August 2002 - by BioNews 
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...
11 February 2002 - by BioNews 
Two groups of scientists claim that they are making progress in attempts to create 'artificial wombs' in which embryos can be gestated outside of the body, according to a report in the Observer newspaper. A group at Cornell University in New York say that they are experimenting with prototype wombs...
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