Nine women in Sweden have successfully undergone transplant surgery that saw them receive donor wombs from their relatives.
The women, mostly in their 30s, will now attempt to have children where it was once thought impossible, having either been born without a uterus or having had it removed due to cervical cancer treatments.
The procedure doesn't connect any of the uteruses to the patients' fallopian tubes. Instead, frozen eggs from the patients' own ovaries will be inserted as part of an in-vitro fertilisation process. Though the birth is not a natural one, any children the women manage to have will be their biological own. All however will need to take anti-rejection medicines, which could potentially have a detrimental effect on a growing foetus. After two pregnancies the wombs will once again be removed as a safety measure, as the anti-rejection medication can increase chances of contracting some forms of cancer and diabetes.
"This is a new kind of surgery," said Dr Mats Brannstrom, chair of the obstetrics and gynaecology department at the University of Gothenberg. "We have no textbook to look at."
British doctors are expected to attempt similar procedures soon. However, only wombs from dead or dying donors will be used. [Guardian]