Ten carefully selected women will be part of the trial to receive the first womb transplants
Doctors in the UK have been given the green light to perform the first ever womb transplants, giving up to ten women the chance to carry a baby.
A clinical trial will take place at London’s Imperial College and 100 women have already been identified as potential recipients.
The procedure has already been successful in Sweden and is set to begin in the UK in Spring 2016.
For the select 10 women, there is a very strict set of criteria they must meet: they must be 38 or under, be a healthy weight and (perhaps most interestingly) have a long-term partner.
Women who would presumably benefit from the transplants would be those who have lost their uterus to cancer or the 1 in 7000 who are born without a womb.
Before the trial begins, both the woman’s eggs and her partner’s sperm will be frozen for implantation after the operation.
The operation itself will take six hours where the recipient will receive a womb from a donor who is classed as brain dead but who’s heart is kept beating. Twelve months after the operation, each of the women will be implanted with one of their embryos.
Successful pregnancies will be delivered by caesarian to avoid any undue stress on the womb and six months later women will be given one more chance to carry another child before the womb is removed by surgeons.
Dr. Richard Smith is leading the team who will be performing the life-changing operations and has been working on the project for 19 years:
‘I’ve met many of the women who want this and it’s really important for them and their partners.
‘There is no doubting that, for many couples, childlessness is a disaster. Infertility is a difficult thing to treat for these women. Surrogacy is an option but it does not answer the deep desire that women have to carry their own baby.
‘For a woman to carry her own baby – that has to be a wonderful thing.’
What do you think about womb transplants? Is it something you would ever consider?