To offer transplants: Cleveland Clinic Uterus Transplants
Published: November 13, 2015
To offer transplants: Cleveland Clinic Uterus Transplants, Pregnancy is often one of a woman’s most cherished memories. For women with uterine factor infertility (UFI), however, pregnancy is not an option. They cannot carry a pregnancy because they were born without a uterus, have lost their uterus, or have a uterus that no longer functions.
Now, in a research study – groundbreaking for the United States – Cleveland Clinic will perform uterus transplants in 10 women with UFI.
“Although there appears to be potential for treating UFI with uterine transplantation, it is still considered highly experimental,” says Tommaso Falcone, MD, Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute Chair. “Cleveland Clinic has a history of innovation in transplant and reproductive surgery and will explore the feasibility of this approach for women in the United States.”
A ray of hope
The exact incidence of UFI is unknown, but experts estimate that it affects thousands of women of childbearing age worldwide. Some have congenital UFI, meaning that the uterus is absent at birth (as in Mayer-Rokitansky and other syndromes). Others acquire UFI after hysterectomy or because of damage from a serious pelvic infection, or abdominal or pelvic surgery.
Uterus transplant offers them a ray of hope. “Women who are coping with UFI have few existing options,” explains Dr. Falcone. “Although adoption and surrogacy provide opportunities for parenthood, both pose logistical challenges and may not be acceptable due to personal, cultural or legal reasons.”
Although arranging for a gestational carrier (surrogacy) is an option in the United States, it can become legally complicated. In other countries, surrogacy is often highly restricted or banned outright.
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