In Great News for Science and Some Cancer Survivors, Uterus Transplants on the Way in the U.S.

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uterus-transplantScience is just the coolest darn thing. In a move that sounds like something straight out of science fiction, uterus transplants have actually allowed previously infertile women to carry and deliver healthy babies, and now the procedure could  be coming to the U.S.

The first baby was born from a successful womb transplant in 2014 in Sweden, and since then several more apparently healthy babies have been born to mothers using transplanted wombs. One mother, who had lost her uterus to cancer in her 20s and thought she would never be able to bear children, even used a uterus that had been donated to her by her own mother.

Now, according to the New York Times, the procedure is coming to the U.S. In the next few months surgeons in Cleveland expect to conduct the first U.S. uterus transplants on women who either were born without a uterus or had to have theirs removed for various reasons. After a uterus is transplanted, doctors say it will be given about a year to heal before the insertion of any embryos.

The Cleveland surgeries will be different from the Swedish transplants, because the Swedish doctors used wombs from living donors. Doctors in Cleveland plan to use wombs from deceased organ donors.

Judging from the Swedish model, the transplants can be used for multiple pregnancies, but they are considered temporary. Once a woman is finished having her babies–which will be delivered by C-section–the transplanted uterus will be removed so that the woman does not have to keep taking anti-rejection drugs, which are a requirement for people who have organ transplants.

Uterus transplants are some pretty amazing science. The New York Times estimates that 50,000 women in the U.S. would be potential uterus transplant recipients, and several women have applied to test the process. It is not without risk–there are major surgeries and anti-rejection drugs involved, after all–but some still say they think it would be worth it to be able to be pregnant.

(Photo: iStockPhoto/GettyImages/Spectral Design)