Womb Transplant: Motherhood Hopes For Infertile Women

This is a huge deal for women who struggle with infertility and long to have their own baby

3 min read
Womb Transplant: Motherhood Hopes For Infertile Women
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1 in 4000 women across the world is born with no uterus. But now even that woman can bear a child and give birth.

Too sci-fi? Not anymore.

It’s been a long road for doctors, but has paid off big-time. In a huge medical development which will have a major impact on couples who thought they can never have a child, a uterus transplant will now drastically improve the options for infertile women.

Ten women in the United States will soon undergo a uterus transplant, as part of a clinical trial by the Cleaveland Clinic. Till now, Sweden is the only country in the world, which has successfully carried out nine births to mothers, who were either born without a uterus or had it removed because of cancer.

This is really amazing and almost like Star-Trek medicine, but the procedure is highly experimental, and all the risks are still not known.

Here’s what you need to know about this:


Who Will Benefit From This?

Around1 in 4,500 women in the country is born without a uterus - a condition known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome. Only women who are born without a uterus, or had it damaged by an injury or infection are viable candidates.

Scientists have set an age criteria; healthy women between 21 and 39 years can undergo this treatment because after the transplant, their eggs are used to create an embryo, which is then injected in the womb.

(Photo: The Quint)

Any Risks?


Any transplant is a risky process, precisely why healthy women are chosen for this, so they can tide over the trauma of the surgery. Women are put on immunosuppressant drugs so that the body does not reject the foreign organ.

These drugs increase the chances of a pre-term delivery. Also, no one knows the exact side-effect of this medication on the growing fetus.

Only when the uterus heals, which usually takes up to a year, is the embryo put in the womb via in vitro fertilisation.

If the procedure works, many women could benefit: an estimated 50,000 women in India might be future candidates. But there are potential dangers. These pregnancies will be considered high-risk, with the fetus exposed to anti-rejection drugs and developing inside a womb taken from a dead woman.


With a Uterus Implanted, Will Women Be Able to Conceive With Sex?

No way.

Fertilisation takes place in the fallopian tubes in healthy women. In the transplanted uterus, the womb will not be connected to the tubes so a normal pregnancy cannot take place. Therefore, women will necessarily need to undergo In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), in which eggs are taken from the woman’s body and fertilised with the sperms in a petri-dish in a lab.

Finally, Will They Figure Out a Way To Make Men Preggers Too?

Men will be able to give birth, sooner than never! (Photo: iStock)

Experts say, theoretically it will be possible. Men will be able to have a temporary uterus, get pregnant and deliver.

Surgically, it will be a nightmare to reconstruct the pelvis region, make a vagina and then involve a team of endocrinologists to graft a complex hormone regimen to create an artificial environment for the fetus to thrive in the male body.

But more importantly, transplanting a womb into men is an ethical issue. There are long-term health outcomes for transplant recipients and no one knows the risk the babies would be exposed to. So using this technique for men is really pushing the envelope.

Also Read: Darling, I Froze the Baby!

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