A Texas woman recently gave birth to a boy, thanks to a transplanted uterus.
Dr. Zaraq Khan, a Mayo Clinic reproductive endocrinologist and infertility surgeon, says, for women with uterine factor infertility, this is promising. He says the foundation work for uterine transplantation has been in Sweden and, so far, there have been more than 25 transplants performed worldwide. The case in Texas was the second in the U.S.and the first to result in a live birth.
Uterus transplantation is a means for providing fertility to women who have absolute uterine factor infertility.
Dr. Khan says, "Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser or MRKH syndrome causes absolute uterine factor infertility, where women are born with an underdeveloped uterus or mostly without one."
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He adds, “The second type of absolute uterine factor infertility includes women who have iatrogenically lost their uterus to precancerous or common benign conditions like uterine fibroids, in an accidental trauma or after childbirth due to postpartum bleeding scenarios.”
"When a uterus transplant is performed, the cervix and the uterus but not the fallopian tubes are reimplanted to the donor," says Dr. Khan. "The goal is to perform in vitro fertilization in these women prior the transplant, so embryos are cryopreserved and ready for a transfer to the transplanted uterus after organ stability in the donor is established."
Dr. Khan says, "Following the principles of bioethics and respecting complete patient autonomy, we can argue for and against uterine transplant, but if the whole process is handled in a way where the patient is completely aware of the risk/benefits, and if there’s expertise involved in the institution that’s providing the service, we do think and we hope that in the future this is going to become more and more common." He adds, "We’re hoping that in a decade or so, this will become mainstream.”
In the future, Dr. Khan sees potential for uterus transplantation to become mainstream, perhaps for patients with relative uterine factor infertility like recurrent miscarriages, intrauterine adhesions etc. as well. However, Dr. Khan says, "As of right now, when uterus transplantation is still in its infancy, it will be limited to patients with absolute uterine factor infertility."