Modern medicine

First U.S. uterus transplant to give woman hope of pregnancy

From left: Andreas Tzakis, Uma Perni, Rebecca Flyckt and Tommaso Falcone, the doctors leading the uterus transplant team at the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Nov. 10, 2015. (Michael F. McElroy/The New York Times)

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have announced that they intend to perform the United States’ first ever transplant of a uterus into a woman lacking one so that she can become pregnant and give birth. When Dr. Tommaso Falcone, the Cleveland Clinic’s chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, first heard of uterus transplants he travelled to Sweden — to date the only country to successfully perform the procedure — and spoke to the couples seeking it. “I almost cross-examined them,” Dr. Falcone admits, “I was thinking, ‘There’s got to be something wrong with these people.'” But after observing the Swedish team and extensive talks with the patients, Falcone left Sweden determined that the Cleveland Clinic should also someday offer the procedure. An estimated 50,000 women in the United States are potential candidates, but recipients face the risks of surgery and anti-rejection drugs. Their pregnancies will be high-risk, birthed prematurely via cesarean section to ease the strain on the transplanted uterus. “I know there will be people who don’t understand or agree,” said a 26-year-old candidate. “But this is not a whim.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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