Cleveland Clinic Plans First-Ever Uterus Transplants in US
Cleveland Clinic Plans First-Ever Uterus Transplants in US

Cleveland Clinic Plans First-Ever Uterus Transplants in US

The Cleveland Clinic has announced that it will conduct the first “highly experimental” uterus transplant procedures in the U.S., giving some women a chance they may never have had to experience pregnancy.

According to The New York Times, which on Thursday published an in-depth look at this apparent medical breakthrough.

Right now, Sweden is the only country in the world to have successfully carried out uterus transplants. Nine women have received uteruses from living woman who’ve completed menopause. In five cases, the donors are the recipient’s mothers, which the Times notes “raised the dizzying possibility of a woman giving birth from the same womb that produced her.” Four of the nine gave birth to healthy, but premature babies.

In the U.S., the Times reports, surgeons plan to take uteruses from deceased women to minimize the risk to the donor. Recipients are women born without a uterus or who’ve had theirs removed or damaged.

Interestingly, the transplants are temporary. The uterus is removed after the woman’s had one or two babies. That’s because the drugs organ recipients are required to take are intense. The pregnancies themselves are considered high risk and births cannot happen naturally, the Times points out.

Roughly 50,000 women in the U.S. might be candidates for the transplant. Currently, eight women have been screened for the procedure at Cleveland Clinic. To quality for the procedure, women must cross a number of hurdles, for instance:

For a prospective recipient of a uterus, the process is long and complicated. To be eligible, candidates must be in a stable relationship, because they will need help and support. They must also have ovaries. The initial phase includes screening for psychological disorders or relationship problems that could interfere with a candidate’s ability to cope with a transplant and be part of a study. Candidates are also interviewed to make sure that they are not being pressured to have the transplant. Doctors use similar criteria for people receiving other types of organ transplants because the process is arduous, and patients with a strong social support system seem to fare better.

Other hospitals in the U.S. are planning similar transplants, but Cleveland Clinic is the closest to completing it, according to Times. The hospital is planning 10 of these transplants before evaluating whether to continue.


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