Swedish doctors transplant wombs into 9 women

This is kind of scary, but exciting at the same time. However it poses several ethical/moral problems, I think.

*Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the pioneering project has revealed.

The women were born without a uterus or had it removed because of cervical cancer. Most are in their 30s and are part of the first major experiment to test whether it’s possible to transplant wombs into women so they can give birth to their own children.*

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.
The technique used in Sweden, using live donors, is somewhat controversial. In Britain, doctors are also planning to perform uterus transplants, but will only use wombs from dying or dead people. That was also the case in Turkey. Last year, Turkish doctors announced their patient got pregnant but the pregnancy failed after two months.

The use of in-vitro fertilization, of course, is morally unacceptable. But advances in the surgery may allow the woman’s own fallopian tubes to be linked to the transplanted uterus and her eggs to be fertilized in the normal fashion. If this happens, then I think the surgery would be okay.

However, there is the sticky question as to whether an embryo or fetus should be subjected to an experimental environment, which the transplanted wombs are.

And… if the donors are alive, are they sterilized by donating their wombs? Does it matter if they are past the age of menopause?

I’d imagine that we can’t use any future technology (e.g. transplants that can connect to a Fallopian tube) if it was derived from an experiment that murdered children to obtain it. In a similar fashion, we currently are not allowed to use medical procedures realized through embryonic stem cell research, for example. However, the current technology (transplants that cannot connect to a Fallopian tube) does not seem to have been discovered through immoral methods.

We may end up in a moral quandary where the completely ineffective procedure (the transplant without connection to Fallopian tubes) would be morally licit to get but impossible to produce children, and the effective procedure (the transplant with connection) would be morally illicit to obtain.

Shame that those doctors couldn’t be bothered for working on a cure for cancer instead of transplanting wombs or perfecting sex change surgery techniques.

Meanwhile, children who desperately want parents are still sitting in orphanages. :frowning:

I think that’s what they are planning to do with this. But, a man who has a so-called “sex change” is still a man based on the fact that he was born a male and will always have male DNA. The sex we are born with is like our race, so it’s absurd to think we can change it with a surgery. But, with how crazy and confused the world is getting, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with a “race-change operation” for people who don’t like the race they were born with.

Umm, perhaps those Docs aren’t Cancer specialists? Just sayin’.

Some good points clarifying the dilemma of moral accountability. There is more than just the organ that is surgically implanted. Hormones and blood flow to this organ sustains an infant. Without the necessary hormones the pregnancy will not be sustained, as indicated in the Turkish experiment.

The code word is “experiment”. They don’t “experiment” with kidney or liver, or heart transplants … it is a going concern. So much so that the biology of declaring someone “dead” has become an increasing issue among moralists.

I just read an article revealing that the ethical norms of artificial Insemination has been compromised in a clinic in Utah. A lab employee has been exchanging his semen for that of the spouse, for years.

Perhaps God says, “No” to some women and men in reproducing?


Hmm, gynaecology has come a long way from what I studied in college! :wink:

The issue of morality is, of course, an important one, but equally important would be the potential for a rejection (in the immune sense) to affect a potential pregnancy.

Why isn’t there a Catholic Bioethics / Biomedicine Journal? :slight_smile:

They have time to come up with womb transplant machinations. Just sayin’

To be fair, the Swedish doctors didn’t come up with the idea on their own. Attempts to create successful womb transplants have been ongoing in several countries. The news article mentions the United States, the UK, Hungary, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
I would be surprised if other nations weren’t doing research into such transplants.

They exist, although I am not sure how widely they are read. Here are two:

Thanks a lot! I’d never heard of this one (but then, I mostly read the psychiatry journals, my bad :o). Bookmarked, and will probably subscribe next month. :smiley:

Very intriguing, science has gone very far.

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