UK medical experts plan womb transplant

British women born without a womb will be given fresh hope this year when scientists attempt to help the woman who had the world’s first successful womb transplant to conceive a baby.

Just over a year ago Turkish scientists successfully transplanted the organ and are hoping to start IVF treatment in April or May.

If the breakthrough treatment succeeds, British researchers planning to replicate the same results will become a step closer to achieving their goal.

A successful pregnancy, helped along by the pioneering Turkish team, will help the London-based doctors win approval from ethics committees to conduct the innovative procedure.

Medical experts in Sweden have also performed four uterus transplants, including the first ever mother-to-daughter womb transplant.

Richard Smith, a consultant gynaecological surgeon, said the British team hoped to conduct the first operation in the UK before the end of 2014.

“The Turkish team transplanted [a womb into] a woman just over a year ago and intend to do an embryo transfer in April/May time,” said Mr Smith, who helped set up a charity to raise money to enable the first five operations in the UK.

“The Swedes have done four transplants in the last two or three months and all of their live donors are well and the 
recipients are well and are doing as one would expect.

“They are waiting for a year before they do any embryo transfers.”

Earlier this year, his team achieved a successful pregnancy in a rabbit with a transplanted uterus, though the animal went on to miscarry.

He said that before doctors could approach ethics committees they had to produce data on a pregnancy in a woman who had undergone the procedure.