UK to at­tempt to carry out coun­try’s first womb trans­plants af­ter trial done


Bri­tain will at­tempt to carry out its first womb trans­plants af­ter a clin­i­cal trial en­abling 10 women to un­dergo the pro­ce­dure was ap­proved, doc­tors said Wed­nes­day.

Sur­geons hope to repli­cate the suc­cess of the world’s first-ever ef­fec­tive womb trans­plant, con­ducted on a 36-year-old woman in Swe­den who gave birth last year.

More than 100 women have been ap­proved as po­ten­tial re­cip­i­ents ahead of the trial which is set to start in the first half of next year, af­ter eth­i­cal ap­proval was granted by the Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don.

The pro­ce­dure has pre­vi­ously also been at­tempted in Saudi Ara­bia and Tur­key but in both cases did not lead to live births.

Richard Smith, a con­sul­tant gy­ne­col­o­gist at the Queen Char­lotte’s and Chelsea Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don, will lead a team of sur­geons car­ry­ing out the trial fol­low­ing 19 years of re­search.

“There’s an



for many women to carry their own baby and this pro­ce­dure has, po­ten­tially, the ca­pac­ity to sat­isfy that in­nate de­sire,” Smith told BBC ra­dio.

Around one in 5,000 women is born with­out a womb, while oth­ers lose the or­gan as a re­sult of can­cer.

Smith said it was “heartrend­ing” to meet those women af­fected.

Ten women will be se­lected for the trial sub­ject to cer­tain cri­te­ria be­ing met. They must be aged 38 or un­der, have a long-term part­ner and be a healthy weight.

How­ever sur­geons cur­rently only have funds for “one or maybe two cases” said Smith, adding that they were “des­per­ate” for more fund­ing to com­plete the £500,000 (US$759,000) trial.

In a six-hour op­er­a­tion par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive a womb from a donor who is classed as brain dead but whose heart is still beat­ing.

‘Feel baby grow in­side you’

In the trans­plant in Swe­den, the re­place­ment or­gan came from a live donor — a 61-year-old fam- ily friend of the re­cip­i­ent who had been through menopause seven years ear­lier.

The baby boy was born by Cae­sarean sec­tion at 31 weeks last Oc­to­ber to a woman whose ge­netic con­di­tion meant she was born with­out a womb.

Two other trans­plant at­tempts have been re­ported else­where, but nei­ther re­sulted in a live birth.

The first, car­ried out in Saudi Ara­bia in 2000, ended in fail­ure af­ter three months when the uterus be­came necrotic and had to be re­moved.

The sec­ond, car­ried out in Tur­key in 2011, en­tailed a uterus that was trans­planted from a de­ceased donor, re­sult­ing in a preg­nancy that mis­car­ried within six weeks.

So­phie Lewis, 31, hopes to be among the first to un­dergo the trans­plant in Bri­tain, The Times re­ported.

“To be told at 16 you can’t have chil­dren, and then to be given the op­por­tu­nity to feel your baby grow in­side you — it’s too much to say no to,” she told the news­pa­per.

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