Mother To Donate Uterus To Daughter For Experimental Operation

Health & Wellness on 06.19.11
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Photo: Focus Laser Vision / Creative Commons License

A British woman born without reproductive organs is hoping to conceive by undergoing an operation for a uterus transplant -- supplied by her own mother. 

Sarah Otterman, a 25-year-old biology teacher who lives in Stockholm, was diagnosed with Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome at birth and cannot have children, though she has considered adoption. 

But now she's a potential candidate for a womb transplant trial in Goteburg, Sweden, which will test the success of the experimental procedure in ten pairs of donors and recipients. If the organ is not rejected after one year, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) drug therapy will be administered to boost the patients' chances of conceiving after organ transplantation.

After much discussion, Sarah's 56-year-old mom, Eva Otterman, a managing director at a Nottingham lighting company, volunteered to be her daughter's donor. In fact, the majority of the donor pairs are mothers and daughters, something that didn't surprise Dr. Mats Brännström, head of the transplant team. He told the Toronto Star:

It is the natural fit. There may be an advantage with the mother because the daughter is similar in tissue type so you have less of rejection. The mother would also be more determined to help their daughter in this way than other people.

Despite the odd circumstances, it's a true example of deep motherly love. Brännström and his team have already done trials with 25 female baboons -- though without the IVF therapy -- and estimates a 60 to 70 percent chance of success with humans based on preliminary data. If the first five human womb transplants to be done in 2012 are successful, this procedure could eventually become available worldwide to thousands of women who cannot naturally conceive. All of this leads us to ask, would you be willing to donate or receive a womb transplant from a relative?

Read more over at the Toronto Star.