A 25-year-old woman who was born without a uterus may become one of the first woman to receive a transplant. And the donor might be her own mother. If you’re doing the math correctly, that means that she will receive (and possibly bear children with) the uterus that carried her. Is your mind blown? We’ll give you a moment to wipe down the walls.
First, if you’re wondering if womb transplants are a common thing that you somehow missed reading about, rest assured that this is not the case. This is the world’s second reported womb transplant. The first one took place in Saudi Arabia in 2000; in this case, the donor was anonymous, but the transplant did not take. The maternal twist of this case, however, adds to its unique (and newsworthy) nature.
Swedish doctors believe that science and medicine have improved enough since that 2000 procedure that womb transplants are ready to become more common. And that is where 56-year-old Eva Ottosson could possibly undergo the procedure to transplant her uterus into her daughter Sara, who was born with Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH) syndrome (which causes reproductive organs to not develop completely or at all). And Ottosson is more than ready to hand over her uterus, which she says “served [her] well.”
And what about the whole “receiving the womb you were carried in” thing? Sara says:
“I haven’t really thought about that. I’m a biology teacher and it’s just an organ like any other organ. But my mum did ask me about this. She said ‘isn’t it weird?’ And my answer is no. I’m more worried that my mum is going to have a big operation.”
However, the procedure wouldn’t be a breeze for Sara either. Concerns arising with a uterus implant — besides rejection — include hemorrhaging and a sufficient amount of blood vessels to connect the womb. Also, unlike transplanting a kidney, trying to place a uterus into a woman’s pelvis is akin to “working in a funnel.”
If this works, then the availability of womb transplants could mean a lot not just to women, but men transitioning into women. Maybe it will be possible for women who were born men to become mothers as well.