Womb Transplant From Mom to Daughter With MRKH Syndrome
If all goes as planned, 56-year-old Eva Ottosson will donate her womb to her 25-year-old daughter Sara, who has MRKH syndrome, in a cutting edge womb (uterus) transplant procedure. The only previous uterus transplant occurred more than a decade ago, but it was not successful.
Womb transplant could make medical history
Although the first attempt at a womb transplant was for a woman who had lost her uterus following hemorrhage, Sara has Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a condition that affects 1 in every 4,000 to 5,000 females. MRKH syndrome is also known as Mullerian Agenesis syndrome.
MRKH syndrome is an unusual variation in the prenatal development of the female genital tract and is characterized by the lack of or a very short vagina and the absence of or an immaturely formed uterus. Females who have MRKH have normal functioning ovaries, normal external genitalia, a normal female chromosome pattern, and normal breast development. Some females also have renal and/or skeletal abnormalities.
Like Sara, females who have MRKH syndrome typically do not know they have the condition until puberty and they do not start menstruation. MRKH syndrome is usually diagnosed between ages 15 and 18, although occasionally girls are diagnosed earlier if they have other health problems.
According to The Telegraph, Mrs. Ottosson stated that “My daughter and I are both very rational people and we both think ‘it’s just a womb.’ She needs the womb and if I’m the best donor for her…well, go on. She needs it more than me.” If the transplant is successful, Sara could become pregnant and bear a child in the same womb that bore her.
If Sara and her mother get the green light, the surgery will take place in Sweden, where Sara now lives and works as a biology teacher. According to Dr. Mats Brannstrom, who leads the medical team, a womb transplant “is lot more difficult than transplanting a kidney, liver or heart. The difficulty with it is avoiding haemorrhage and making sure you have long enough blood vessels to connect the womb.”
While Sara noted that having a successful womb transplant “would mean the world to me for this to work and to have children,” Mrs. Ottosson also pointed out that the operation would bring attention to MRKH syndrome.
“The girls who have MRKH are a silent group who don’t like to talk about it,” she stated in The Telegraph. She and Sara hope news of the womb transplant and MRKH will benefit other females who have the condition and prompt research into its cause, which currently is unknown.