The first set of womb transplants will happen in the UK starting in 2016. Doctors have approved 10 transplants as part of a clinical trial. The transplants will be led by Dr. Richard Smith at the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London.
Who will receive the wombs?
Some women who don’t have wombs or have non-functioning wombs could be offered the transplant. Of course, not all women will want a womb transplant, but those who do will have to meet some requirements.
For example, they must be under 38 years of age, have a healthy weight and be in a long-term relationship. They also need to have healthy and functional ovaries.
Who will give the wombs?
This procedure has already taken place in Sweden, where live donors volunteer to give their wombs.
However, because of the risks involved in taking out the womb, the UK will only be accepting wombs from donors who are “brain-dead” but whose hearts are still beating. They have not yet given details about how donors will be picked.
So, what exactly are the risks?
Women receiving wombs will have to undergo complex surgery and be placed under anesthetics. They will also need to take immunosuppressants which can lead to infections and osteoporosis.
People have also questioned how safe the procedure is to the fetus that will later develop in that womb. Doctors seem to think that this should not be a problem. All safety information will be studied carefully during the clinical trial.
This procedure was first attempted in Saudi Arabia, but it did not go well. Four months after the transplant, the organ had to be taken out. The procedure has also been attempted in Turkey and other countries. A Swedish woman was the first to have a successful birth after a womb transplant.
Each transplant will cost around 50,000 Euros, but the women will not be expected to pay for them – all costs will be covered during the clinical trial.
News Source: BBC