9 Swedish Women Receive Womb Transplants, Will Try To Get Pregnant

Nine Swedish women have successfully received transplanted wombs donated by family members, and will soon try to have children, the AP reports. There have been no major complications following the surgeries, and every woman left the hospital within days. The transplants are part of the largest effort yet to produce children from transplanted uteri, which hasn’t yet been accomplished:

There have been two previous attempts to transplant a womb — in Turkey and Saudi Arabia — but both failed to produce babies. Scientists in Britain, Hungary and elsewhere are also planning similar operations but the efforts in Sweden are the most advanced. “This is a new kind of surgery,” Dr. Mats Brannstrom told The Associated Press in an interview from Goteborg. “We have no textbook to look at.”

But whether or not it will work is anybody’s guess. One woman who received a uterus transplant in Turkey last year became pregnant after artificial insemination, but the pregnancy failed two months later.

All of the women were either born without a uterus or lost it due to cervical cancer. Each had eggs removed and fertilized, and won’t be able to get pregnant the old-fashioned way, according to the AP:

The transplant operations did not connect the women’s uteruses to their Fallopian tubes, so they are unable to get pregnant naturally. But all who received a womb have their own ovaries and can make eggs. Before the operation, they had some removed to create embryos through in vitro fertilization. The embryos were then frozen and doctors plan to transfer them into the new wombs, allowing the women to carry their own biological children.