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Mother to Donate Uterus to Daughter for Transplant

Jeanetta Stega, Guiseppe Del Priore

A New York hospital is taking steps to offer the nation’s first uterus transplant, a radical experiment that might allow women whose wombs were removed or are defective to bear children.
The wombs would come from dead donors, just as most other organs do, and would be removed after the recipient gives birth so she would not need anti-rejection drugs her whole life.
The hospital’s ethics board has conditionally approved the plans, although the hospital’s president warned women not to get false hopes because a transplant is not expected “any time in the near future.”
Several experts cautioned that much more research must be done, and one declared this bold concept “not really ready for prime time.”
The New York doctors just did a six-month trial run, showing that wombs could be obtained from organ donors, and now are screening potential recipients.
“I believe it’s technically possible to do,” said lead physician Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore.
However, even some scientists involved think they should produce more healthy offspring in animals before trying women.

In an Australian first, Melinda Arnold, 34, donate the organ to her.

Arnold, who was born without a womb but with ovaries that produce eggs, twice tried unsuccessfully to use her mother as a surrogate and adoption attempts also failed.
 Australian colleagues, will perform one of the first ever womb transplants next year.

A decade ago, Arnold's mother was given permission to act as a surrogate for her by the courts.

"I was devastated when the surrogacy didn't work," Allen said. "There was a bit of a feeling that I had failed her, but Melinda never saw it that way."

A third attempt, using a friend as the surrogate, also failed to achieve the desired pregnancy. The couple  hoped to adopt, but after almost three years, they gave up that dream.

Arnold said she feared her dream of motherhood was slipping away.

"I know some people see this as risky," she said. "If I had a child I would never take that risk, but I don't."

The transplant team is being led by Mats Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Gothenburg University in Sweden.

He said most areas of infertility could now be treated, but not women irreversibly infertile due to a missing womb. Transplants are a solution, he believes.

"Since the final aim is to accomplish motherhood, success should be measured by full-term pregnancies that result in healthy offspring," he said.

Patients would need to wait 12 months after the transplant before attempting a pregnancy through IVF.

Frozen embryos would be created before the transplant to show a couple could conceive and the recipient would need to take immuno-suppressant drugs to stop rejection.
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