Saturday, 4 October 2014

First Ever Live Birth After Live-donor Uterus Transplantation in Gothenburg, and Six More Chances Awaiting

 So, perhaps some of you remember reporting and commenting somewhat a few years back (here and here) on the Gothenburg Live-donor Uterus Transplant Project at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Sahlgrenska Academy at my university, lead by Mats Brännström, and since then successful transplant-procedures have been reported (here and here), to be followed by attempts to establish pregnancies. Late yesterday night, the embargo was lifted on the Lancet article reporting the first live birth within this project, which is also the first such case ever. The child and the mother are reported to do well, albeit the article reports a few minor complications – in no way exceptional and dealt with in a routine manner. Six more pregnancies are reported to be under way in the project. Besides the article and general presentation video linked to above, here is a video telling the story of these recent events:

As Mats Brännström states in this documentation, the eventuality of uterus transplantation becoming a routine procedure for the small – though not insignificant – group of women for whom the procedure may be indicated lies far off into the future. The procedure is still highly experimental and requires outstanding skill and organisation (and has, in the Gothenburg case, been funded exclusively by research grants from private foundations). You may, of course, debate whether or not it should ever become more than that, if nothing else for reasons of priority, but this will depend on what the cost of a fully developed procedure would be, and, of course, how one values the outcome.

In the meantime, I want to condone Masts Brännström and his team, not least, for the example-setting openness and conscientiousness about the ethical ramifications of this project which has surrounded it from day one (this is one publication concentrating on this particular aspect). And, of course, I extend my congratulations for this success to the team and, not least, the patient.