Four women who had womb
transplants have had embryos transferred in an attempt to become pregnant.
If any of the embryos implant,
this could lead to the first live birth following a womb transplant.
The recipients have functioning ovaries, so their own egg cells were used in
IVF before being transferred into the wombs that were donated by living relatives.
'We have already
begun transferring embryos into four of the women and plan to make attempts
with the others when they are ready', said Professor Mats
BrÃ¤nnstrÃ¶m at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who is leading the trial. 'One or two more will perhaps get pregnant and miscarry, and one
or two won't be able to get pregnant', he told Associated Press.
The first of these embryo transfers was
reported last month (in BioNews 740); however, Professor BrÃ¤nnstrÃ¶m has
not yet confirmed whether it led to pregnancy.
Professor BrÃ¤nnstrÃ¶m's team
has performed uterus transplants on nine women as part of this trial, which
began in 2012. Two women have since had to have their transplanted wombs
removed: one due to an untreatable infection, and other due to blood clots in
the transplanted blood vessels.
'The women who had to have their transplanted
wombs removed were of course very disappointed, but both of them have recovered
well', said Professor BrÃ¤nnstrÃ¶m.
Four of the women also had 'mild cases of
transplant rejection', but according to BrÃ¤nnstrÃ¶m, 'after six months, the
immunosuppression could be reduced to relatively low levels'.
Khalaf from Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals commented
on the trial, telling Associated Press: 'We really don't know if the blood flow to the uterus will increase and
adapt in the same way as in a regular pregnancy. A live birth will be the
best validation that this works'.
Professor Charles Kingsland from Liverpool Women's Hospital also commented: 'There are
questions about how the physiological changes in the uterus will affect the
mother and whether the transplanted uterus will be conducive to a growing baby'.