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First uterine transplant in Germany


Baby happiness with a transplanted uterus?
Physicians at the University Clinic in Erlangen are planning the first uterine transplant in Germany. Such interventions have already taken place in other European countries. Such operations can help women who were born without a uterus, for example, and who cannot fulfill their desire to have children.

When the desire to have children remains unfulfilled
When the desire for children is not fulfilled, couples are often advised to use the strangest methods. Some people think that it helps to stretch your legs in the air after sex. But researchers recently reported that this doesn't increase the chances of having a child. Some women find it difficult or impossible to get pregnant anyway. For example, those who have no or too little uterus from birth due to a genetic change. However, a transplant could help them.

Woman with donor uterus gave birth to baby
In the past few years, uterine transplants have already been carried out in various countries to help women achieve their desire to have children. Such operations have also been carried out in Europe, and the first uterine transplant is planned in Great Britain. Gynecologist Mats Brännström has shown with transplants in Sweden that the operation is feasible and promising. There, a woman with a donor uterus had a healthy baby in 2014. In the meantime, five children have been born in this way. The first uterine transplant is now being planned in Germany. This could take place in the women's clinic of the Erlangen University Clinic as early as next year.

A risky intervention
“We are currently preparing for the first uterine transplant. But first we have to get the necessary permits from the Bavarian Ministry of Health and train the intervention on the animal model, ”explained clinic director Professor Dr. Matthias Beckmann in a message. It will take a few more months before the first uterus can be transplanted in Erlangen. According to the doctor, a uterine transplant is a risky procedure - both for the potential organ donor and the recipient, as well as for the child who may grow there later. "That is why we have to prepare and train the intervention in a team with vascular surgeons and plastic surgeons very carefully - especially how the donated uterus can best be connected to the recipient's blood system using artificial blood vessels," explained Professor Beckmann.

"Legislation drives women into illegality"
The doctor is convinced that the risk is manageable and worthwhile. For the women concerned, it is the only way to legally have their own child in Germany. “I am not particularly keen on taking risks. But the legislation drives women into illegality, ”said the gynecologist, referring to the ban on surrogacy and egg donation in Germany. “We can't help these women any other way at the moment. That means we have to work on the only legal procedure. ”A case from Upper Franconia shows how great the risk for doctors is. There, a reproductive doctor was sentenced to five years in prison last year because, among other things, he used the eggs of other women as part of a “fertility treatment” for women. This is prohibited in Germany by the Embryo Protection Act (ESchG).

Thousands of women could benefit
According to a message from the dpa news agency, the intervention in Erlangen will cost an estimated 100,000 euros. Two groups in Heidelberg and Tübingen also planned such interventions. In Germany, around 5,000 to 10,000 women are affected. Women who have lost their womb after an oncological illness could also be operated on. According to the agency, there are 500 to 1,000 cases a year here. According to the information, the recipients should be between 25 and 40 years old.

Critics changed their minds
It is currently unclear whether the university hospital will receive approval from the Free State. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that a decision would be "made after carefully considering all aspects relevant to the decision". Although the German Society for Reproductive Medicine (DGRM) rejected uterine transplants years ago, this has changed after the successes in Sweden. Claudia Wiesemann from the Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Göttingen also said: "All in all, I think it is ethically justifiable to try it out." (Ad)

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Video: Cleveland Clinic doctors hope to perform first uterine transplant (December 2021).