Calm down, it’s not your entire vagina and you’d be dead anyways so what does it really matter. There’s a new procedure aimed at combatting infertility: uterine transplantation.

The clinical trial will be the first of its kind and may eventually allow an estimated 50,000 women in the United States to become pregnant. Of course, there are complications, controversies and concerns.

  1. Produce, collect, fertilize and freeze 10 eggs.
  2. Wait for a uterine donor of the same blood and tissue type to die.
  3. Take anti-rejection drugs and receive transplanted uterus (5-hour surgery).
  4. Wait one year, then undergo in-vitro fertilization one embryo at a time.
  5. Hopefully become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby!

The transplanted uterus will not be attached to the recipient’s fallopian tubes, but will join vagina-to-vagina. Yep, a piece of the deceased woman’s vagina will be stitched to the recipient’s own goodies.

Let us not forget that the intrauterine environment is crucial for the development and growth of the foetus. Going from a ball of cells to a fully-formed human being is no small feat. Many complications and health problems occur in perfectly healthy women. Will a transplanted uterus taken from a dead woman suffice?

The pregnancies will be treated as high-risk, with both mother and foetus being exposed to anti-rejection drugs from the transplantation. If successfully carried to term, the babies will be born by caesarean section and the woman’s uterus removed (unless she wants to try for the maximum 2 babies allowed with a transplanted uterus).

Finally, Denise Grady wrote a fascinatingly descriptive article in the New York Times.

Food for thought

What are the costs to the recipient (both financial and health-related)?

What are the chances of becoming pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby?

Basically, is the risk worth the reward?

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