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World's first mother-to-daughter womb transplants

24 September 2012
Appeared in BioNews 674

Two women in Sweden received uterus transplants from their mothers, with hopes it will allow them to conceive children of their own.

A team of ten surgeons completed the first mother-to-daughter womb transplants, which each took seven hours, at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Professor Mats Brannstrom, who led the surgery, issued a statement saying: 'Both patients that received new uteri are doing fine but are tired after surgery. The donating mothers are up and walking and will be discharged from the hospital within a few days'.

The women, aged 32 and 37 years, both lacked a uterus for different reasons; one woman had hers removed due to cervical cancer and the other was born without one. The women were able to release eggs from their ovaries and had IVF treatment prior to the transplants.

Their embryos were cryopreserved, so that a year after receiving the womb transplants from their mothers, they can begin attempts at becoming pregnant. If successful it will be the first time a mother and child will have grown in the same uterus. The women will each be allowed to have two pregnancies, after which the wombs will be removed.

Women stop producing eggs around the age of 50 but their wombs remain viable for at least ten years afterward. It is believed the womb remains healthy enough to bear children during this time. Since the wombs used in these transplants are from the mothers of the patients, it is thought they are less likely to be rejected. Doctors plan to slowly wean the women off immunosuppressant drugs, designed to prevent rejection, over the coming year, before attempting to implant the embryos produced by IVF.

Professor Michael Olausson, one of the surgeons, said: 'We are not going to call it a complete success until this results in children'.

Over the next several months, eight more uterus transplants are planned, with seven wombs coming from mothers of the patients and one from an older sister. These transplants will provide the women with the possibility of conceiving their own children without using a surrogate mother, which is currently illegal in Sweden.

Dr Gedis Grudzinskas, an expert in gynaecology and infertility who was not involved in the transplants, told the Daily Mail: 'This is a potential advance for a small group of women but I am cautious about how widespread the implications will be. Applicability is limited'.

The transplants were initially stopped by Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board, but in May were allowed to proceed, provided a special committee was first established to monitor this new area of research.

Doctors perfom world's first uterus transplant between a mother and her daughter
Mail Online |  18 September 2012
Mother-to-daughter womb transplant 'success' in Sweden
BBC News |  18 September 2012
Swedish women have world's first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants
Independent |  19 September 2012
World's first mum-to-daughter uterine transplants in Sweden
Medical Express |  18 September 2012
13 October 2014 - by Dr Amel Alghrani 
Following the first baby born after a womb transplant, the time has come to debate uterus transplantation. How will it be regulated in the UK and what social, legal and ethical issues does it raise?
3 February 2014 - by Dr Barbara Kramarz 
A womb transplant recipient is set to become pregnant after doctors successfully transferred an embryo into the transplanted uterus. If the embryo embeds and the pregnancy is successful, the baby will become the first child born following a womb transplant....
20 January 2014 - by Dr Rosie Morley 
Nine women have received transplants of uteruses donated by their mothers or other living relatives in an ongoing trial of an experimental procedure at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden...
20 May 2013 - by Dr Anna Cauldwell 
Doctors have terminated the pregnancy of 22-year-old Derya Sert, the first woman to receive a womb transplant from a deceased donor....
15 April 2013 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
One of the first women to receive a womb transplant is pregnant, the treating hospital has disclosed. A spokesperson said that early test results were 'consistent' with signs of pregnancy....
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...
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)....
20 June 2011 - by MacKenna Roberts 
A British woman has agreed to donate her womb to her daughter if selected for an experimental womb transplant surgery to be performed by doctors at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden....
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...
1 October 2001 - by BioNews 
A team of scientists from Leeds and Manchester have shown that ovarian transplants may be successful in preserving the fertility of women who have recovered from cancer. Previously, these women faced becoming infertile because cancer treatments using drugs or radiation could damage their ovaries. The team, led by Dr Samuel...
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