The Cleveland Clinic will be the first in the nation to the perform uterus transplants on women born without one so that they can become pregnant and birth a child or two.
According to the New York Times, eight women have begun the screening process in hopes of being selected to undergo transplants. And approximately 50,000 women in the states might be candidates. The transplant will be temporary and like any other transplant, the recipient will be required to take anti-rejection drugs. If the women become pregnant, the babies must be delivered by C-section. After having one or two babies, the uterus is removed.
Currently, Sweden is the only country in the world with successful uterus transplants. Nine women received the organ from living women who had completed menopause. In five of the nine cases, the uterus was donated by the recipient’s mom. In other words, the transplants made it possible for women to give birth “from the same womb that produced her.”
Here in the states, recipients will receive uteruses from deceased women so that they can avoid putting healthy women at risk. Of course, to be considered for this procedure, women have to undergo a rigorous screening process, which examines not only their physical health but also their lifestyle. The Times explains:
To be eligible, candidates must be in a stable relationship because they will need help and support. They must also have ovaries. The initial phase includes screening for psychological disorders or relationship problems that could interfere with a candidate’s ability to cope with a transplant and be part of a study. Candidates are also interviewed to make sure that they are not being pressured to have the transplant. Doctors use similar criteria for people receiving other types of organ transplants because the process is arduous, and patients with a strong social support system seem to fare better.
Finances matter, too, because during parts of the study, recipients will have to live in Cleveland, and those from out of town will have to pay for their food and lodging.
The pregnancies are considered to be high risk since the fetuses will be exposed to anti-rejection drugs and will be developing in wombs taken from dead women.
The clinic is planning to perform ten transplants before determining whether or not they should continue with this procedure.