Birth Of Baby From Transplanted Uterus Raises Ethics Question

By Sami Ghanmi | Dec 06, 2017 08:09 AM EST

This week, a woman who underwent a uterus transplant in 2016 successfully gave birth to a baby boy at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

The success has given new hope to many women who are unable to conceive, but at the same time, has also sparked an intense debate about the ethics behind the risky surgery.

The First Successful Birth Of Baby From Transplanted Uterus In US

The woman who recently gave birth at the Baylor University Medical Center was one of eight women who underwent uterine transplants in clinical trials.

The uterus that the baby boy was delivered from was donated by a Dallas nurse named Taylor Siler who already had two children. Siler wanted to share the gift of motherhood to someone else.

The delivery is considered to be the first successful birth from a transplanted uterus in the United States. However, not everybody is celebrating the success as the procedure raises some ethical questions.

The Procedure Raises Ethical Questions

Swedish surgeons were the first to transplant a uterus successfully and since then, many people believe that uterine transplants are too risky and just very expensive to consider.

According to Dr. Liza Johannesson, who joined Dr. Giuliano Testa and his team at the Baylor University Medical Center, surgeons are very aware of the risk uterine transplants can pose not only for the patient but also for the baby.

Dr. Johannesson said they have a good knowledge of the risk for the baby because, for many years now, women have been giving birth after kidney and liver transplants on immunosuppressive drugs. She added that they are very aware of the effect of immunosuppressive drugs on pregnancies, babies, and recipients, and they know which drugs women should not take.

Those who argue against uterine transplants say there are other options available such as adoption or surrogacy that are much safer for the fetus and the would-be mother.

In response, Dr. Johannesson said that uterine transplants do not exclude adoption or surrogacy, they are only being offered as a complementary treatment.

First Successful Pregnancy

In October 2014, a healthy baby boy was born to a uterine transplant recipient at an undisclosed location in Sweden. The baby boy was born in September, weighing 1.8 kg, and had been delivered prematurely at around 32 weeks.

There are now at least 16 uterus transplants all over the world and since 2014, there have been a total of nine babies born from a transplanted uterus.

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