Organ transplants are nothing new--people have been getting new kidneys, livers, even hearts from donors for the past 50 years. Now doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have the medical know-how to transplant a healthy uterus into infertile women--and expect to perform the first such operations in the next few months. In fact, eight women from around the country have begun the screening process to see if they're eligible.
The doctors hope that uterine transplants will become more common after these first experimental ones. The doctors are targeting women who have no uterus--either they were born without one or had to have theirs removed for some reason. And they can use anyone's uterus, even a woman who's gone through menopause. But women who go through the transplant must have ovaries and be in a stable relationship (for the help and support).
The procedure has its pitfalls. Besides the dangers of major surgery, women have to take drugs so that their bodies don't reject the new organ. And even though these drugs have been found safe during pregnancy, women who take them have a higher chance of developing complications, and having smaller or premature babies. Still, there's hope. There have been nine transplants done in Sweden--and two healthy babies have been born as a result.
For the women who stand to benefit from the surgery, this is a dream come true. One 26-year-old who was born without a uterus told the New York Times she wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth, despite having adopted two children. "I want to feel the baby move. That is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember," she said, adding that she was aware of the risks but felt she was in safe hands. “I know there will be people who don’t understand or agree,” she continued. “But this is not a whim.”
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