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Transplant Hope for Infertile Women

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 05/10/2015

A major development for infertile women comes as ethical approval is permitted for 10 women in the UK to receive a womb transplant in the hope of being able birth to their own child.

Transplant Hope for Infertile Women

New Medical Developments

Last year a Swedish project saw success with the birth of a baby boy after attempting 9 transplant operations to see if it is possible for women to conceive and give birth to their own children using a transplanted womb.

This development is now being brought to the UK, but unlike Sweden, who used wombs from live donors, UK recipients will receive their womb from women classed as brain dead but whose hearts are still beating.

300 women approached Womb Transplant UK about the opportunity but only 100 met the criteria for the transplant which includes being aged 25 – 38 and a healthy weight, having functioning ovaries and a long-term partner.

The procedure involves an operation, the need to take immunosuppressant drugs after the transplant, using IVF to implant an embryo and then a caesarean section to deliver the baby. The womb will be removed when the women no longer need it to reduce the potential risk of harm associated with taking immunosuppressant drugs forever.

Smitha Mundasad, a health reporter for the BBC does however note that there are issues involved such as, "The safety of the patient receiving the transplant, questions over who should, could or would donate a womb and of course the health of the potential new life."

Who Could This Procedure Help?

Women who have had their womb removed due to cancer may benefit from this breakthrough. This was the case for the woman who gave birth in Sweden. She had lost her uterus to cancer but was able to have her child by using her mother's transplanted uterus.

Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome is a condition affecting around 1 in 5,000 women in the UK, or around 50,000 women of childbearing age. This condition can cause women to be born without a fully developed vagina, cervix or womb. It can also cause hearing difficulties and issues affected the kidneys and bones.

This new procedure could bring hope to many women with this syndrome of finally being able to conceive and carry their own child.

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