Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mother to Donate Womb to Daughter

A Swedish woman born without a uterus will undergo a transplant to receive her mother's womb in hopes of conceiving a baby. Sara Ottoson, 25, has Mayer Rokitanksy Kuster Hauser syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by an undeveloped or absent vagina, and an absent uterus. The syndrome affects one out of nearly 5,000 births. The cause is unknown but like many women with the condition Sara only realised she was missing her reproductive organs when she was a teenager and failed to begin menstruating. In a bid to conceive a child, she's turned to her mother for help. Eva Ottosson, 56, has agreed to take part in a groundbreaking new medical procedure, which if successful could see her donate her uterus -- the same womb in which she was conceived and developed -- to her daughter. Weird? They don't think so. “My daughter and I are both very rational people and we both think ‘it’s just a womb’" Eva told the Daily Telegraph. “She needs the womb and if I’m the best donor for her … well, go on. She needs it more than me. I’ve had two daughters so it’s served me well.” Sara adds: “I haven’t really thought about that. I’m a biology teacher and it’s just an organ like any other organ. But my mum did ask me about this. She said ‘isn’t it weird?’ And my answer is no. I’m more worried that my mum is going to have a big operation. It would mean the world to me for this to work and to have children. At the moment I am trying not to get my hopes up so that I am not disappointed. But we have also been thinking about adoption for a long time and if the transplant fails then we will try to adopt.”
Dr Mats Brannstrom, who is leading the medical team, said a womb transplant remained one of the most complex operations known to medical science. He said: “Technically it is lot more difficult than transplanting a kidney, liver or heart. The difficulty with it is avoiding hemorrhage and making sure you have long enough blood vessels to connect the womb. “You are also working deep down in the pelvis area and it is like working in a funnel. It is not like working with a kidney, which is really accessible.”
Sara and her mother will undergo the surgery next Spring. The only previous womb transplant took place in Saudi Arabia in 2000 when a 26-year-old woman, who had lost her uterus due to hemorrhage, received a donated womb from a 46-year-old. The donated organ was removed 99 days later, due to complications.

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