A mother in Sweden successfully donates her uterus to her daughter. Are we witnessing the beginning of  what will become another option in third party reproductive assistance?

By Robert Terenzio, Reproductive Law Attorney

It is no secret that infertility rates have increased, consequently giving rise to the use of third party assisted reproduction like surrogacy. The ever increasing turn to third party reproductive assistance has made gamete donation and surrogacy more common than ever, but now there may be another type of third party reproductive assistance… a uterus transplant.

Many women lose their uterus to cancer, endometriosis, uterine trauma, and some are even born without a uterus altogether. Whatever the cause may be, it is evident that this surgery gives a new and promising option to a significant group of women.

This transplant was done by ten surgeons at the University of Gothenburg’s hospital in Sweden where they actually performed two uterus transplants to two women in their 30’s.

Although it is not the first uterus transplant, (the first one occurring in 2000), this one is the first to use donors that are the recipients’ mothers. The interesting thing is that the uterus can be used whether or not the donors have gone through menopause.

Some reports are indicating that surrogacy will decrease now that a uterus transplant has successfully taken place. However, the truth is that we won’t know whether the transplant is successful until the women have both undergone a full year of observation where they will be taking anti-rejection drugs. Only after the year period will the women even attempt a pregnancy using their own embryos.

Even if the transplant is successful after the year of observation, we have yet to see what kind of affects the anti-rejection drugs will have on the pregnancy (if any) and whether women will opt to go through surgery as opposed to using a surrogate. Nonetheless, there are a number of other infertility scenarios where surrogacy still remains the best option. For now, we shall remain hopeful that there will be yet another way for people to successfully have children and have the joy of expanding their families.

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Robert T. Terenzio is a reproductive law attorney in Florida. Robert’s practice, Reproductive Alternatives, provides  legal services for intended parents, egg donors and surrogates using in vitro fertilization.