Uterus transplant a boon not without challenges

Uterus transplant a boon not without challenges

Childlessness can be the biggest trauma for couples who desire for baby/babies but are unable to have. The uterus transplant could be said a huge medical breakthrough in reproduction science and a hope to those for whom only other option is either surrogacy or adoption.

What is uterus transplant?

The uterine transplant is the surgical procedure where a healthy uterus from a donor (can be from living or deceased) is transplanted into a female who is born without uterus or whose uterus is diseased or removed due to medical reason.

The recipient woman is monitored closely for over a year. If all goes well, an embryo is implanted in the uterus using an IVF procedure. Later the delivery of the baby is done through a caesarean section. Once the uterus is no longer needed, the womb can be removed to prevent the side-effects due to intake of immunosuppressants, usually taken by organ recipients for the rest of their life.

Uterus transplants cases in the world

The world’s first womb transplant was successfully conducted in the year 2011 in Turkey from a deceased donor at Akdeniz University Hospital in Antalya on the then 21 years old Turkish woman, Derya Sert, who was born without a uterus.

Next in the year 2012, in Sweden, the first mother-to-daughter uterus transplant was done at Sahlgrenska University Hospital at Gothenburg University led by Dr. Mats Brannstrom, a Professor of gynaecology and obstetrics at the University of Gothenburg. Later in 2014, it was announced, the world’s first womb transplant baby boy, named ‘Vincent’ is born to this uterus recipient who was then a 36 years old woman. The University of Gothenburg has done nine transplants using live donors, where four of the recipients are reported to have babies.

The latest womb transplant in Feb 2016 on a 26-year-old patient at Cleveland Clinic is the first one in the U.S., where a deceased donor’s uterus was used. The transplant took nine hours of surgery. The receiver’s eggs were removed from her ovaries, fertilized, and frozen using IVF techniques. According to doctors, if the transplant is successful, she would be able to give birth to a baby through an implanted embryo in her new womb. After the woman has given birth to one or two babies, the transplanted uterus will be removed.

Benefits of uterus transplant

The procedure is a boon to women with Uterine Factor Infertility (UFI) condition, who have had a hysterectomy, fibroids or scarring, or face a rare genetic syndrome called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) i:e., underdeveloped or absence of uterus.

Challenges of uterus transplant

Although experts believe uterus transplantation is a blessing for those who have only option of either adoption or surrogacy for parenthood. But the technique is not without its share of challenges like high cost or obtaining donor organ.

The very high cost of uterus transplant procedure, the patient care thereafter, and its logistics would be a barrier for many to go for it. The pregnancy would be through IVF technique in transplant patients, it would add up to the cost. Also since the organ donation in many countries is not organized, it will be difficult to get the right matching donor.

Uterus transplant is successful and has actually raised the hope of thousands of infertile women seeking parenthood. The efforts of scientists and the governments should combine to make the procedure accessible to all in need.

Cost of Uterus Transplant

In India uterus transplant is being done on clinical trial basis under the strict perusal of Medical Council of India. At present the cost of uterus transplant is estimated to be about US$70,000 (INR 47,85,550) in the U.S. India is deemed as comparably low cost destination for medical treatments, thus it is yet to be seen, what the uterus transplant procedure cost would be in the country.

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I want to thank GMA for being there whenever I needed sound advice for my IVF procedure. You have been always supporting and guiding. I wish you best of luck for all the good service you are doing by helping people to take well-informed decisions.

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