Hospital plans to offer first uterus transplant

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by ginnie5, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16637583/

    I'm not quite sure what to think of this....


    A New York hospital is taking steps to offer the nation’s first uterus transplant, a radical experiment that might allow women whose wombs were removed or are defective to bear children.

    The wombs would come from dead donors, just as most other organs do, and would be removed after the recipient gives birth so she would not need anti-rejection drugs her whole life.

    The hospital’s ethics board has conditionally approved the plans, although the hospital’s president warned women not to get false hopes because a transplant is not expected “any time in the near future.”

    Several experts cautioned that much more research must be done, and one declared this bold concept “not really ready for prime time.”

    The New York doctors just did a six-month trial run, showing that wombs could be obtained from organ donors, and now are screening potential recipients.

    “I believe it’s technically possible to do,” said lead physician Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore.

    However, even some scientists involved think they should produce more healthy offspring in animals before trying women.
    Others note that about a thousand women already have become pregnant after kidney, heart and other transplants, with generally good results. They view uterus transplants as a way to help women whose only option now for a biological child is through a surrogate mom.

    “If this is a passionate desire for a woman who’s had surgical removal of a uterus, I would think this would be something she’d really want to pursue,” although the risks would have to be carefully weighed, said Julia Rowland, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship.

    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.

    Preserving cancer patients' fertility
    Organ transplants usually are performed to save lives, but increasingly they are being done to improve quality of life. Hand transplants and the recent partial face transplant in France are examples.


    Besides surgical complications that can prove fatal, the main risk in such operations is the need for lifelong immune-suppressing drugs to prevent organ rejection.

    However, if a uterus had to be removed, it would be serious but probably not life-threatening like loss of a liver or heart, proponents say.

    A uterus transplant has only been attempted once — in Saudi Arabia in 2000. That womb came from a live donor and had to be removed three months later because of a blood clot. Stega thinks that transplanting more blood vessels and using better anti-clotting drugs would lessen this risk.

    Doctors in London and Hungary want to offer such transplants and several are working with Del Priore and Stega. Potential candidates include women born without a uterus, those with abnormal tissue growth called endometriosis, and women who lost a womb to non-cancerous tumors called fibroids.

    Del Priore is interested in fertility preservation for cancer survivors.

    “Patients ask, ‘Can anything else be done?”’ he said.

    Margaret Cieprisz was one. The Manhattan woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 38, a few months after she was married.

    “The fact that I wasn’t going to be able to have children, it was an unbearable thought to have to accept,” she said.

    She delayed a hysterectomy to create embryos that later were implanted in her sister, a surrogate mom for her 2½-year-old daughter, Natalie. If a uterus transplant were possible, “I would have wanted to consider it,” she said. “I’m so happy that I have a child, but I kind of missed out on something.”

    To be transplant candidates, women must have frozen embryos so there is no fertility issue complicating the chances of success, Del Priore said.

    How the process might work
    People donating a loved one’s organs would be asked to donate the uterus, too. In the six-month experiment with the New York Organ Donor Network, nine out of 150 families agreed and eight wombs were successfully removed.

    A uterus stays viable for about 12 hours, so the recipient would need to be ready for surgery once the retrieval begins.

    The transplant would be through a vertical cut about 6 inches long, from the belly button to the pubic bone. The woman would need to be stable on anti-rejection drugs for at least three months before pregnancy would be attempted.

    Then, previously frozen embryos would be transferred to the new womb in the usual manner through the vagina. (Doctors do not want the woman to have vaginal sex soon after the transplant because of an added risk of infection.)

    The baby would be delivered by Caesarean section to avoid other risks involving the transplanted uterus. After the birth — or two years after the transplant if no pregnancy is achieved — the uterus would be removed to minimize the risks of anti-rejection drugs to the woman.

    The drugs generally are not dangerous to a fetus although certain ones should be avoided, said Dr. Vincent Armenti, kidney transplant chief at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He keeps a registry of pregnancies in transplant recipients throughout North America.
     
  2. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    I see that your signature line mentions that your are the mother of 6, which leads me to think that perhaps what you would think now might be different then if you had badly wanted 6 children and it somehow was not possible for you to do so, am I right?

    Hugs
    marlene
     

  3. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

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    actually I'm just not sure what I think of it.......yes we have 6. We would've probably had more if we could. I had to have an emergency hysterectomy with our last though so that is not an option. So I can see both sides of it. Dh swears that the reason I want a puppy so bad right now is that its usually the time I would be getting pregnant if we were having more :rolleyes: having a hysterectomy the way I did I went thru months of depression over not being able to have more....whether I wanted to or not. I also just wonder though if we don't take too much on ourselves....instead of leaving it in our Creator's hands. I guess I'm just really sitting on the fence on this one.
     
  4. Pink_Carnation

    Pink_Carnation Well-Known Member

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    It bothers me less than using drugs to get someone 60+ pregnant. I still don't like it though.

    That said I didn't need any intervention to have kids.
     
  5. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

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    I think that part of what bothers me is that this is going to be only for the very rich. I very seriously doubt any insurance will cover this. With the cost of hospitalization I just don't see how the average people could afford it. We couldn't. I think it is unfair to open this possibility to only the advantaged.
     
  6. Zipporah

    Zipporah Well-Known Member

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    I think it's wonderful.I think any woman who wishes to be a mom and experience pregnancy should be able to.I have no problem with women in their 60's having babies either.I don't think someone with children can truly know how it feels for someone without any children to be barren just like someone who hasn't loss a child can know the horror of the loss.The down side is it will more than apt be like fertility treatments and be very expensive.
     
  7. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    If it's unfair to offer this only to wealthy women, is it also unfair to offer infertility treatments only to wealthy women? That's the reality right now - at least my own insurance won't cover infertility treatments - or even hormone testing if that happens to be the problem preventing pregnancy. If I manage to conceive, insurance kicks in with no problems.

    Pregnancy hasn't been possible for my husband and I, despite doctors and testing we've only managed miscarriages. If it turned out that my womb was the problem, and I could afford the transplant, I might well consider that option. I consider it a blessing that another option may be available for those of us watching our friends and family members have babies - and not able to ourselves.
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't see this as being any different than any other organ transplant.
     
  9. Zipporah

    Zipporah Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I'm still paying off my loan for treatments.They are very expensive.I gave up and then got a miracle, dd :baby04: .I hope you get the baby your heart desires.It's hard waiting.Some states make insurance companies pay.Texas did when I lived there,but not so here.
     
  10. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    I don't think insurance should cover it. It is NOT medically necessary. I don't see anything wrong with a uterus transplant per se but I do have problems with invitro fertilization because I believe that life begins at conception. Since the uterus isn't any use without invitro fertilization, I do have a problem with it. I'm a firm believer in adoption and have 3 blessings from that avenue. I'd have more but so far we've struck out twice. We're hoping that it might happen again but so far it has not.
     
  11. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    I've been offering mine for years now to anyone who'd like it..I'm sure not using it for anything.. :)
     
  12. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

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    Yes I do think that is unfair. I watched my sister go thru the reality that she would never have children. It broke her heart. Unfortunately adoption is not an option for them due to her medical consitions. I did offer to be a surrogate for them but they decided that since they didn't know when she would have another flare up that might kill her they just wouldn't have any. Day to day care would also be hard on her too and they worried that she might be holding the baby and have a seizure.
     
  13. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    You might be surprised, female parts aren't just about having kids. Hormones run everything.

    I personally think it's disgusting, but so are other transplants, this one is just more repulsive (mentally).

    You may get angry with me, but it's just how I feel. I don't think parts should be taken out of people and put into other people, we're not automobiles.