CLEVELAND — Six doctors swarmed around the body of the deceased organ donor and quickly started to operate.
The kidneys came out first. Then the team began another delicate dissection, to remove an organ that is rarely, if ever, taken from a donor. Ninety minutes later they had it, resting in the palm of a surgeon’s hand: the uterus.
The operation was a practice run. Within the next few months, surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic expect to become the first in the United States to transplant a uterus into a woman who lacks one, so that she can become pregnant and give birth. The recipients will be women who were either born without a uterus, had it removed or have uterine damage. The transplants will be temporary: each uterus will be removed after the recipient has had one or two babies, so she can stop taking transplant anti-rejection drugs.
Uterine transplantation is a new frontier, one that pairs specialists from two fields known for innovation and for pushing limits, medically and ethically: reproductive medicine and transplant surgery. If... see more