Launch of first uterus transplants in the United Kingdom

Publié le 29 Sep, 2015

On 30 September, Dr. Richard Smith announced that he had been given the go-ahead [1]to launch the first clinical trial involving uterine transplants in the United Kingdom. For this trial, he is supervising a team of scientists working for the Womb Transplant UK organisation and plans to start the trial next year. It will involve ten women selected from “hundreds of candidates”, based on age (25 to 38 years), health and partnership criteria.


 As far as gynaecologist Dr. Smithis concerned, transplantation “is clearly a viable option for these women [2], who would otherwise have no opportunity to carry their own baby”.


Following the example of Sweden where the first child carried in a transplanted womb was born last September, the (cf. Gènéthique du 6 octobre 2014)“first British baby could be delivered from a transplanted womb at the end of 2017 or early 2018”.

 Gestation following uterine transplantation calls for MAP techniques: “Before starting trials, embryos will be created in vitro and then frozen”.The women will then undergo transplantation and will receive medical treatment avoiding transplant rejection for one year prior to embryo implantation. To prevent the uterus from experiencing “the stress of labour”,the babies will be delivered by Caesarean section. Women who undergo transplant surgery will be offered a second pregnancy “six months after the birth”. “If they refuse, doctors will perform a hysterectomy” in order to discontinue immunosuppressant medical therapy.

The uteruses “will be provided by brain dead donors who have been kept alive,”explained Dr. Smith because “the excision of the organs is a more extensive procedure than transplantation and we do not want to impose this surgery on a living donor”.[3]


Note from Gènéthique: InJune, the French Académie de médecine approved the continuation of a research programme into uterine transplantation. Two teams in Limoges and Suresnes are preparing to investigate this procedure (cf. Gènéthique du 18 juin 2015 et 24 juin 2015).


[1]The test has been “approved by a Committee at Imperial College London”

[2]According to Womb Transplant UK, approximately one in 5,000 women is born without a uterus in the United Kingdom”

[3]  Living women are also likely to donate a family organ, as in Sweden


Sciences et Avenir (30/09/2015)

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