First-ever pregnancy in transplanted womb paves way for infertility treatment
Transplantation of the uterus (womb) looks likely to become a future treatment of pregnancy for women who are infertile either because their uterus is congenitally absent or they have a uterus that is nonfunctional due to disease, according to the results of ground-breaking new research published online in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
A critical step in the research progress towards uterine transplantation in humans is to prove that a uterus transplanted from one individual to a genetically different individual will remain functional. In a report by a collaborative Swedish-Spanish research group from the Universities of Gothenburg and Valencia, pregnancies were for the first time achieved in allogeneic (from one individual to another) transplanted uteri.
The experiments, which were conducted in rats, made use of uterus donors of one strain with the uteri then transplanted into females of another strain.
“This is a clinical situation comparable to transplantation between unrelated humans,” says Professor Mats Brännström, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Gothenburg.
The transplanted animals were given immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection and then were mated. Cesarean section was performed some days before parturition and fetuses were found.
This pregnancy in a transplanted womb is a major advance in uterus transplantation
“This first ever demonstration of pregnancy after uterine transplantation in an animal treated with standard immunosuppressant drugs, represents a major advance towards a human uterus transplantation trial,” adds Dr Cesar Diaz-Garcia, First Author of the article in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
The study is released on E.pub on the home page of Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (see www. informahealthcare.com/aogs), a leading international and European journal, and will appear in print in a forthcoming issue.
By Kirsten Stocker