Swedish Doctors Successfully Transplant Wombs Into 9 Women

Next step: implanting embryos

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A team of doctors in Sweden has successfully transplanted wombs into nine women, who will try and make medical history by becoming pregnant.

The women, mostly in their 30s, who were either born without a uterus or had it removed because of cancer, are part of the first major experiment to see if a woman with a transplanted uterus can become pregnant and give birth to the child. The women received wombs donated from relatives. Women from two previous womb transplant attempts–in Turkey and Saudi Arabia–both failed to carry a baby.

Scientists in several countries are working on similar operations, but the Swedish group is the most advanced, the AP reports. Dr. Mats Brannstrom, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Gothenburg, will hold a workshop next month on how to perform womb transplants and publish their findings.

The Swedish medical team will next try to transfer embryos into the transplanted uteri, possibly within months. If successful, the uteri will be removed after two pregnancies so the women can stop taking anti-rejection drugs. “This is a new kind of surgery,” Brannstrom told the AP. “We have no textbook to look at.”