For the first time in history, a woman gave birth with a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor. There have been 11 babies born to a woman with a transplanted but those were all from live donors. This could make it easier for women not able to conceive have more availability for a transplanted uterus as well as lead to research for the possibility of a transgender woman giving birth.
There were ten trials in the Czech Republic, Turkey, and the U.S. to use a deceased donor’s transplanted uterus, but this has been the only successful attempt. The baby girl was born last December to a woman without a uterus due to a rare syndrome.
Usually, the process of transplanting a uterus is purely to have a child. The woman and her doctor’s goal is to get pregnant quickly and then remove the uterus when she has given birth so there is no need to keep taking the medication to prevent organ rejection.
“Biologically, organs of the living and the dead aren’t all that different. But the availability of deceased donors certainly could open this up to a much broader number of patients,” said Dr. Allan D. Kirk, the chief surgeon at Duke University Health System.
Infertility affects more than one in 10 women of reproductive age, according to the New York Times. The future shows patients going to organ banks for uteruses, more women able to have children, and less risk for organ donors. Although there is a whole set of different problems with transplanted a uterus into a transgender woman, it is becoming a much more real possibility.
Of course, there are risks to a transplanted uterus – from a living donor or deceased.
Their pregnancies are considered “high risk” because the fetuses will be exposed to anti-rejection drugs and will be developing inside a womb not belonging to their mothers.
But to some, the benefits outweigh the costs. There are many reasons to not adopt or have surrogates. Pregnancy is an experience many people want to feel – the morning sickness and backaches are considered privileges to many. Regardless of the reason, providing another option for hopeful parents is a gift to Doctors practicing in this field.
However, much like any new scientific discovery, there is controversy in providing a uterus to someone born without one.
Whether the person is a transgender woman or a woman simply born without a uterus. The idea that doctors can now play God makes many uncomfortable and argue that they were not given uteruses for a reason and humans shouldn’t try to change God’s plan. Others also argue that we do not know the long-term implications of this practice and we should not move too fast before calculating the possible scenarios.
There was a time when opioids were prescribed like candy and now there are millions of people affected by opioid addiction because doctors and pharmaceutical companies didn’t consider their long-term effects. Opponents to transplanted uteruses argue that this could be a similar situation and we should consider the negative impact of this practice.
Also published on Medium.