Is a uterus transplant the magic cure for infertile women?
The innovative uterus transplant offers hope to women who can't become pregnant. But is it worth it?
Soon, it may be possible for women who are unable to become pregnant (those who don't have a uterus or have one that's damaged) to carry their own children.
In the U.S., screening for uterine transplants is underway. The procedure, which marries transplant surgery and reproductive medicine, the two fields of medicine that continue to push the envelop for innovation, begins with harvesting a uterus from a dead donor.
Then, like other transplant procedures, the organ is transferred to a willing and healthy recipient.
But it's not all rainbows and butterflies.
Women who will undergo the transplant face risks and issues such as surgery complications, having what will be considered as a high-risk pregnancy, taking anti-rejection drugs which may affect the fetus and developing a fetus in a dead woman's uterus.
What happens after giving birth?
The women may decide to keep the uterus to have another child. Or the uterus can be removed through another surgery or by allowing the organ to wither. The latter is done by stopping the anti-rejection drugs which will cause the immune system to attack the foreign uterus.
Who are eligible for the transplant?
Hopeful and healthy women must have ovaries, be free of psychological disorders and be in a stable relationship (because of all the support they will require).
Those who were pressured into having the transplant and have weak social support systems may not be considered.
What do you think about using a temporary uterus to enable someone to have a child? Is it ethical?
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