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Uterine Transplant Offers Hope to Women with Infertility
a blog by Kim Griffiths, March 17, 2013
A young woman who received the first successful uterus transplant is now planning for pregnancy via frozen embyro transfer.
Derya Sert was just 21 years old when she received the uterus of a cadaver donor last year. Sert was born without a uterus and would have had to rely on a gestational surrogate to carry a pregnancy for her. However, research efforts in Turkey allowed Sert to undergo the organ transplant and has prompted similar research in other parts of the world.
Currently, Sert is under the careful watch of Professor Ömer Özkan, and medical teams who are monitoring hormone levels before allowing her to attempt an embryo transfer in one to two months. She is estimated to have a 40-50% chance at successfully conceiving, which are strong odds even for an average IVF patient.
The uterine transplant procedure has opened the door to fertility research in other countries, and if successful, will provide new fertility treatment therapies for women with uterine cancer, history of recurrent pregnancy loss, those born without a uterus, or those with severe endometriosis.
A medical team in Sweden used a live-donor approach to their research, transferring the uteruses of two 50-year-old women to their daughters. Scientists in the United States are also working on uterine transplant research. These transplants will likely be temporary- just long enough to allow the woman to deliver one or two children- so they will not have to endure long term use of immunosuppressive drugs (to prevent their bodies from rejecting the donor organ). Frozen embryos will be transferred into the uterus recipients once they have proven to accept the organ donations. The uteruses will later be removed via hysterectomy.
How's that for amazing science?