The womb transplant procedure which may be performed sometime in the near future as part of a study, caused some controversy amongst people, researchers say.
This is not necessarily a new procedure, because Swedish doctors have already performed nine successful uterine transplants.
The Health Research Authority at the United Kingdom Department of Health granted approval for the study which is meant to take place next year. Women ages 25 to 38 who do not have a uterus will be able to take part in the study. It does not matter whether their uterus was removed because they suffered from a severe illness like cervical cancer, or whether he women were simply born without a uterus.
According to the Womb Transplant UK, after the operation is performed, doctors will be able to implant embryos – that are created using the women’s own eggs – into the uterus.
Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University’s Langone Medical Center, stated that the womb transplant that will be performed in the United Kingdom will be slightly different from those performed in Sweden, which may increase the risk of the procedure.
After undergoing a womb transplant, women have to take immunopressant drugs which help their body not reject the new organ. Some argue that the immunopressant drugs may affect the health of the fetus. Lisa Campo-Engelstein, an assistant professor at the Center for Biomedical Ethics Education and Research at Albany Medical College in New York, disagrees with that statement. According to her, previous studies have shown that for women who took immunopressant drugs after a kidney transplant and then became pregnant, the drugs did not have any negative side effects.
Another argument against womb transplant is that it is not a lifesaving procedure, meaning that people do not need it in order to survive. Women can live a healthy life even without having a womb, Caplan stated. “How much risk and cost should anybody go through to try and have the opportunity to deliver their own child?” said Caplan.
However, Lisa Campo-Engelstein believes that the quality of a woman’s life will significantly improve after a womb transplant. She noted that to some women it is very important to be able to carry a pregnancy and to have a biological child.
Before the uterine transplant can be performed, the Womb Transplant UK will have to raise $756,300 (£500,000).
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