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Uterus Transplant- A Future Reality

For those passionate about having a child, it’s a research they will back all the way through.

Doctors at a New York hospital plan the first uterus transplant with the aim of getting the recipient pregnant. //

The medical adventure is not without ethical controversies and technical difficulties though.

The wombs would come from dead donors, just as most other organs do, and would be removed after the recipient gives birth so she would not need anti-rejection drugs her whole life.

The participant will have to battle with anti -rejection drugs that could compromise her immune system and which could also be harmful to the developing fetus.

Some outsiders question whether it's right to take a uterus unless a donor agrees before death.

'Before anybody gets to use a reproductive organ ... should the donor not have the right to control that?' asked Arthur Caplan, bioethics chief at the University of Pennsylvania. 'It's got symbolic importance that's far different from a pancreas or a liver.'

The first transplant was performed on a 26-year-old girl in Saudi’s Fahad hospital. She had a uterus transplanted from live donor, but had to have it removed when blood flow to the donor organ stopped. Yet scientists regard the operation as a success.

Says Julia Rowland, director of the National Cancer Institute's Office of Cancer Survivorship, 'If this is a passionate desire for a woman who's had surgical removal of a uterus, I would think this would be something she'd really want to pursue although the risks would have to be carefully weighed.'

The transplant project is being led by Del Priore, a cancer specialist, and Dr. Jeanetta Stega, a gynecologic surgeon, at the New York Downtown Hospital, part of the New York-Presbyterian Health Care system.

So far limb transplants, organ transplants and as seen recently, even partial facial transplant has been successful.

The New York doctors just did a six-month trial run, showing that wombs could be obtained from organ donors, and now are screening potential recipients.

'I believe it's technically possible to do.' says lead physician Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore.

But while the public finds itself once again caught up in the ethical dilemma of whether such surgeries should be allowed, transplant experts say that developing the surgery into a reliable technique could take years — if ever.

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