Swedish doctors transplant wombs into 9 women

Last updated 07:08 14/01/2014

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Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the pioneering project has revealed.

The women were born without a uterus or had it removed because of cervical cancer.

Most are aged in their 30s and are part of the first major experiment to test whether it's possible to transplant wombs into women so they can give birth to their own children.

Life-saving transplants of organs such as hearts, livers and kidneys have been done for decades and doctors are increasingly transplanting hands, faces and other body parts to improve patients' quality of life.

Womb transplants - the first ones intended to be temporary, just to allow childbearing - push that frontier even farther and raise some new concerns.

There have been two previous attempts to transplant a womb - in Turkey and Saudi Arabia - but both failed to produce babies. Scientists in Britain, Hungary and elsewhere are also planning similar operations but the efforts in Sweden are the most advanced.

"This is a new kind of surgery," Dr Mats Brannstrom said. "We have no textbook to look at."

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- AP

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