Surgeons at the University of Baylor in Dallas, Texas have done what was once considered impossible. With doctors using uterus donations from living donors, four uteri were placed within women who previously did not have a womb. The organs were then left to acclimate to their new environment, with a steady blood supply being provided by reconnected blood vessels.
Out of the four transplants, only one uterus successfully acclimated and began to function within the donor’s body. This was due to insufficient blood flow to the other uteri, thus these organs were removed. Even with only one out of the four being successful, lead surgeon Giuliano Testa said, “This is the way we advance, from learning from our mistakes.”
As the surgeon team continues to improve their procedure, this is good news for women who may be seeking uterus replacement. This procedure could aid women who have damaged their uterus, had their uterus removed, or were born without a uterus, a chance to have children. There are some parts of fertilization that may have to be adapted, such as a fertilized egg being placed in the uterus via in vitro fertilization. Further, if a child is successfully developed in the womb, it would have to be delivered via C-section. However, similar procedures have been done in Sweden, with some women successfully giving birth.
So far, the surgery is very costly, but may end up being worth it for women who have always wanted to bear a child, but haven’t had the ability to do so.
Featured photo by Phalinn Ooi