The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio has begun the first ever clinical trial of uterus transplantation in the United States. This groundbreaking study includes 10 women with uterine factor infertility (UFI). This condition means a woman was born without a uterus, has lost it via hysterectomy, or their uterus does not function normally. For all these women, a traditional pregnancy of carrying a baby themselves is not possible.
A team at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden were successful in their organ transplants, witnessing a uterus transplant birth in September 2014. They’ve performed a total of nine transplants, resulting in five pregnancies and four live births.
“Although there appears to be potential for treating UFI with uterine transplantation, it is still considered highly experimental,” said Tommaso Falcone, MD, Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute Chair, said in an article published in Health Essentials, a Cleveland Clinic publication, on November 12. “Cleveland Clinic has a history of innovation in transplant and reproductive surgery and will explore the feasibility of this approach for women in the United States.”
The successful work of the Swedish team in producing healthy babies lead to the U.S. greenlighting a clinical trial here in America. The clinical trial will use a multidisciplinary team of experts including reproductive and transplant surgeons, infertility and in vitro fertilization specialist Rebecca Flyckt, MD, and high-risk obstetrician Uma Perni, MD.
“Study participants will also benefit from the full support of a team of Cleveland Clinic doctors, psychologists, social workers, patient advocates and bioethicists,” Dr. Flyckt explained in the Cleveland Clinic story.
If the entire procedure of transplant, pregnancy, and birth is successful, after one to two babies, the woman undergoes a hysterectomy to remove the donor uterus. This allows her to stop taking anti-rejection drugs and reduces her long-term exposure to the medications.
“Unlike any other transplants, they are ‘ephemeral,'” Dr Tzakis explained. “They are not intended to last for the duration of the recipient’s life, but will be maintained for only as long as is necessary to produce one or two children.”
The future of science and technology leads our bodies to be able to do incredible things, like give birth when we once thought it impossible. We at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Center can’t wait to see how this changes the lives of women who may now become mothers.
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