- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 1, 2003

MADRID — A baby could be born to a woman given a womb transplant from her mother or sister within three years, researchers said yesterday.

The team that achieved the first live births from a transplanted uterus in a mouse, said the technique is likely to be ready for use in infertile women by 2006.

To reduce the risks of rejection, women would ideally be given wombs from close family members, raising the possibility that a baby could be born from the same womb that produced its mother.

Womb transplants could offer hope to thousands of women unable to have children because of a deformed, damaged or missing uterus.

Mats Brannstrom, who led the team from Sahlgrenska University in Gothenburg, Sweden, said the technique could theoretically be used to give wombs to men.

“It is technically possible, but I do not know whether it would be ethical,” he said.

Last year, Saudi Arabian scientists announced that they had transplanted a womb to a 26-year-old woman. The womb had to be removed because of blood clots after three months.

Members of the Swedish team say they believe they have gone further than any other researchers and that their animal work is laying the groundwork for operations on women.

In the mouse studies, wombs were transplanted alongside the existing uteri. After transplantation, the mice produced normal pups that grew into healthy adults and had their own pups.

Mr. Brannstrom told a meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Madrid yesterday that he hopes to transplant a womb to a woman “within two to three years.”

He believes the first women given the transplants will be those born without a womb, although the technique could also help women who have had hysterectomies, or whose wombs are damaged by disease or fibroids.

“We should try to match donor and recipient, so we could take the uterus from a mother and give it to her daughter. So you could give birth to a baby from the uterus that you were born from.”

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