“Wow” was my first thought when reading this article on BBC news. I am excited to see where this innovation will take us and I am sure this has given many people a new and brighter view of the future.
So the story…
A womb was donated to a 36-year old lady who was born without a uterus, and thus was infertile. The uterus is very important in the development and growth of the fetus. The uterus is responsible for nurturing the fertilized ovum and anchoring it (with the help of the umbilical cord) until birth. Fertilized ovum gains nutrients needed for growth from blood vessels found deep within the uterus lining and develops into a fetus. Within the body of the uterus is the uterine cavity; it is a hollow space that has the capability to stretch to accommodate the growing fetus.
With this in mind…
For this treatment, IVF was used to create 11 embryos which were frozen. The transplant came from a 61-year old friend and immuno-suppressants were taken to ensure the uterus wasn’t rejected. After a year, a frozen embryo was chosen and implanted into the donated uterus and it was successful. Although the baby was prematurely born, due to pre-eclampsia, the mother and baby are now both doing fine.
Even though the success of this treatment has changed the lives of this family, is it too soon for the rest of those in the same situation to hope?
Regardless, the door has been opened to a possible future where surrogacy or adoption is not the only option for those who cannot children of their own. However, many more tests and trials on the new family will need to occur before it becomes a procedure for the general public. Prior to this great success in sweden, two other attempts at womb transplants have occurred. Both were unsuccessful and had to be removed. The safety of this technique is in question, and further tests on eight more couples are taking place to confirm if this treatment can be used for the wider world.
In the case of this happy new family, they will soon have to decide whether this is their one and only child as the immuno-suppressants are damaging in the long term and the womb will have to be removed soon. If this is going to be a success in the future, finding a better way to ensure the body accepts the donated womb will be the next hurdle to jump.
Go to the BBC news website to read the full article!