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First U.S. Uterus Transplant Planned -- Is the Risk Justified?

Posted Sep 12 2008 12:00pm
From the Washington Post:

-- 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. To read on...

We've blogged about this before -- but two big questions arise that no one seems to want to answer: What about the impact of anti-rejection drugs on the fetus during development? From what I understand, anti-rejection drugs are teratogenic or embryocidal. Does a woman's desire to bear a child justifiably outweigh the likely harm to the fetus? And if you decide that a woman could justifiably exercise her autonomy in such a manner, why not allow male pregnancy? (which we've blogged about before, too, here and here.) Either through a womb transplant or via an embryo implanted in the peritoneal sac? (some sort of flexible mesh that would allow growth of the embryo/fetus and yet prevent the endometrial and placental tissues from attaching to major organs would have to be devised).

I could imagine some argument about this being a women's natural role, but pu-leeze, do we really want to go there?

(image courtesy of -- an artist's rendition)
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