First Mother-To-Daughter Uterus Transplant Carried out in Sweden

September 20, 2012

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) Sep 18 - Doctors in Sweden have performed the world's first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants, a medical team said on Tuesday.

The University of Gothenburg said two Swedish women, both in their 30s, received wombs from their mothers in surgery carried out in a hospital in western Sweden over the weekend. The identity of the women was not disclosed.

"More than 10 surgeons, who had trained together on the procedure for several years, took part in the complicated surgery," said team leader Dr. Mats Brannstrom, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Gothenburg.

One of the women had her uterus removed many years ago due to cervical cancer while the other was born without one, the university said in a statement.

"Both patients who received new uteri are doing fine but are tired after surgery. The donating mothers are up and walking and will be discharged from the hospital within a few days."

The university said it estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 women of child-bearing age in Sweden alone were unable to bear children due the lack of a uterus.

The medical team said the quality of the uterus was controlled by the ovaries and the hormones feeding into it, and in theory a transplanted, post-menopausal uterus could carry a baby.

One of the two recipients, identified only by the name Anna, said she realized some may criticize the operation on ethical grounds, but that for her it simply meant restoring a bodily function, of which she had been deprived by cancer.

"It feels huge to be able to experience this," she said in comments posted on the website of the Sahlgrenska hospital where the operations were carried out without any complications.

She said there were still no guarantees she and her boyfriend would be able to conceive. "We have received a wonderful opportunity, and if it works out it is a lovely bonus."