Womb transplants possible next year: Expert

March 27th, 2011 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 27 (IANS) Womb transplants that would allow childless women to have babies could be possible early next year, according to a medical expert.

The forecast will bring hope to thousands of women of childbearing age who are born without a womb or have had it removed because of disease.

Critics, however, warned that the breakthrough erodes the sanctity of life and questioned its safety, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research reported.

The prediction comes from one of the world’s leading pioneers in female organ transplants, Mats Brannstrom of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who has spent more than a decade perfecting the complex surgical techniques needed for a womb transplant.

His team has succeeded in implanting donated wombs in mice, rats, sheep and pigs and are now hoping to achieve the same success in humans, the Daily Mail said quoting the report.

The only human womb transplant so far took place in Saudi Arabia in 2000, but the donated organ failed after four months.

The wombs used in transplants could come from either living or dead donors.

Doctors say a living close relative such as a sister, after she has completed her own family, or a mother, would be a good tissue match.

But others believe that the only way to obtain a womb with the blood vessels needed to take the strain of pregnancy would be to take it from a dead donor.

After the transplant, a woman would be likely to need in-vitro fertilisation (IVF, where egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body) to become pregnant and a surgical delivery because the new tissue would not stand up to a natural birth.

Brannstrom said that during the last decade, there has been considerable progress in surgical techniques.

He expects womb transplants to be carried out as early as next year, according to the report.

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