The Cleveland Clinic Florida has announced it will be the first hospital in the United States to perform a uterus transplant. The hospital says that over the next five years, they will perform the procedure on ten patients, at which point they will analyze the results and decide whether or not to continue doing the surgery.
The study will involve transplanting a deceased person’s uterus into the body of a cisgender woman who doesn’t have a uterus. First, however, she must go under in-vitro fertilization — once there are ten potentially viable embryos, she’ll be put on a waiting list to receive a uterus. Once she has the surgery, a year later, the doctors will begin implanting the embryos until a pregnancy takes.
Women going under this procedure will likely only have their new uterus for a few years — after one or two babies have been born, the uterus will be removed. That way, women won’t have to stay on the powerful anti-rejection drugs keeping their bodies from potentially rejecting the new organ.
The study will be deemed a success or failure based on the number of live births (by cesarean section), the amount and nature of pregnancy complications and the health of the baby.
Should the study prove successful, it could pave the way for allowing transwomen to give birth — reducing feelings of reproductive dysphoria, which is the frustration some transwomen have at not being able to give birth like cisgender women. Unfortunately, with current medical technology, this would be difficult: The pelvic bone would have to be reconstructed and the transwoman would have to have gone through hormone replacement therapy (or HRT) and sex-reassignment surgery.
Also, the transplant won’t be available to help cisgender men get pregnant like in the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Junior, but who knows? Maybe one day…
Medical advancement happens at an amazing rate, so by the time the study is finished in 2021, it’s very possible that the transplant will not be nearly as daunting for transwomen and other people as it is now. Some doctors say uterine transplants to transwomen could take place as soon as five or 10 years from now.
(featured image via Cherijoyful)