New York Doctors To Perform Nation's First Uterus Transplant

Posted Jan 15, 2007 by nidsjourno

The New York doctors are gearing themselves for first uterus transplant in the United States. Though facing many ethical questions, the transplant is expected to offer hope to childless and intertile women.
Following an unsuccessful attempt earlier, doctors from New York are ready to perform America’s first uterus transplant in next six months. The transplant is seen as a boon for women who have thier uterus removed or are childless. The doctors from downtown New York hospital have reportedly asked the relatives of patients to donate the uterus expected to be used for transplant and so far eight wombs have been successfully removed.
Since the uterus remains functional only for 12 hours after the death of the donor, the recipient has to be ready for the surgery three months earlier by a dose of anti-rejection drugs.
After the uterus is transplanted in the woman previously frozen embryos would be transferred to the new womb in the usual manner through the vagina. If the woman conceives, she would be given anti-rejection drugs.
However, the doctors have cautioned against a few drugs by saying it might harm the fetus. After the baby is delivered by Cesarean section, the uterus would be removed to minimize the risks of anti-rejection drugs to the woman.
The transplant project is being led by Del Priore, a cancer specialist, and Dr. Jeanetta Stega, a gynecologic surgeon, at the New York Downtown Hospital, part of the New York-Presbyterian Health Care system.
It has also been called unethical by many experts and faces technical hurdles since many doctors believe that more experiments of such sorts should be conducted successfully on animals before they are tried on humans.
Earlier, a uterus transplant was done in Saudi Arabia in 2000, where the womb came from a live donor but the donor’s body rejected the blood. The womb had to be removed three months later.
According to Dr. Bruce Logan, the president of Del Priore's hospital, "Every step in this long research process must be handled in a measured, prudent manner. Our first concern is always the safety of our patients."
The hospital ethics committee has allowed doctors to go ahead with the surgery and the total cost of per transplant is pegged at $500,000, including two weeks of hospitalization. The expenses for the experiment are likely to be shared by the hospital, charities that support infertility research, the patient, and insurers who cover the embryo creation part.