Human womb transplants are possible. But do we need them?

Image credit: Dana Wechsler Linden

As gynecologist and surgeon Liza Johannesson prepped to deliver the child via cesarean section, she was nervous. Not for the baby—she was used to delivering those—but for the uterus. It was 62 years old. A family friend of the patient, who had been born without her own womb, had donated it.

The baby and the mother too both turned out healthy. It would be a month before the journal article announcing the birth would appear, allowing the ­Swedish-​led medical team to tell the world: Uterus transplants are possible. And they can bear life.

Hundreds of women’s fertility advocates have applauded Baylor [Medical Center]’s work, and other transplant centers have contacted it to learn its methods. The need seems great.

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Critics question the necessity of the procedure, given that women have other paths to motherhood, such as surrogacy and adoption. Some wonder if surgeons are undertaking the challenge simply because they can. And then there are the risks. The donor must undergo a medically unnecessary surgery to remove her womb. The recipient must undergo three: one to insert the uterus, another to deliver the baby via C-section, and a third to remove the organ after birth.

Finally, there are the costs, which [surgeon Guiliano] Testa estimates at around $250,000, putting the operations beyond the reach of any but the most affluent, and perhaps the most desperate.

Read full, original post: Inside the controversial new surgery to transplant human wombs

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