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Medicine Science

Infertile Daughter To Receive Uterus From Mother 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the tenant-turned-landlady dept.
kkleiner writes "Led by Dr. Mats Brännström, a team of surgeons at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden are giving Sara Ottosson, now 25 years old, hope that she may one day fulfill her dream of giving birth to a baby. The uterus will come from a very special donor: Eva Ottosson, Sara's mother. Sara's operation will mark only the second time transplantation of a uterus has been attempted in humans, and the first time between a mother and daughter."
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Infertile Daughter To Receive Uterus From Mother

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  • by sackvillian (1476885) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @11:28PM (#36488796)
    Many children inherit their childhood home.
  • interesting angle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @11:28PM (#36488798) Homepage Journal

    If mom's past menopause she has no use for it anyway, and that's gotta help with the possibility of not needing to take anti-rejection meds too. Does make one wonder just how well a uterus possibly in its 50's will hold up to pregnancy though? Just because you transplant it into a younger person doesn't make the organ suddenly young again.

    • with the possibility of not needing to take anti-rejection meds

      The body eventually rejects anything that is foreign. That's the whole purpose of the immune system, and it has unique protein keys for each person. All a donation from mom means is that the reaction will be slower, and there will be less of a need to suppress the immune system.

      • Unless she is planning on doing some reasonably serious spawning, 'eventually' won't be a deal-killing problem. Unlike a donor heart or something, it just has to last long enough to produce the desired number of children.

        In that vein, I'd be curious to know if there are any special complexities, compared to other organs, with immune reactions in-utero. Embryos, after all, are aggressively expanding foreign organisms; but any species whose immune system suppressed them wouldn't be in the running for long(
        • by Rei (128717)

          The studies show surprisingly little impact to the embryo from immunosuppressant drugs. And there's already a large body of data on it; a successful pregnancy is generally considered one of the best signs that a person has adapted to a (non-uterine) transplant.

        • Every mother carries cells within her body for life of the kids she has conceived (not necessarily given birth to). The female immune system has several features designed to inhibit normal immunological responses during pregnancy...
        • by coolgeek (140561)

          It's not that cut and dry. Placental integrity may be affected by the age of the uterus, which could lead to problems during gestation. Then again, hormones in the daughter's body may change the condition of the tissue the uterus is composed of.

    • Re:interesting angle (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ModernGeek (601932) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @12:27AM (#36489124) Homepage
      I'd also worry about the higher potential risk for cancer in an organ that would normally exist for a total of say 75 years, that may now end up existing for about 120.
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Hey now, don't be such a downer. Too many people don't know how to share.

      "It's uter-us, Marge, not uter-u!"

  • Responsible? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steevven1 (1045978) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @11:32PM (#36488836) Homepage
    I feel bad for the girl who has problems with infertility, but is it really responsible to put your child at higher risk by having it grow in an essentially experimental situation, when you could just deal with your unfortunate problem, make the best of a bad situation, and possibly adopt?
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      Or at the very least, if she wanted a biological child, surrogacy
      • Or at the very least, if she wanted a biological child, surrogacy

        Seriously, that sounds like the most reasonable thing to do.
        Why go through the mess of transplantation of that magnitude?
        Random question: Would a mother who used a surrogate be referred to as the biological mother or is genetic mother a better term? Isn't the surrogate biologically the mother (though not genetically)?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Surrogate mothers are not allowed in Sweden.

        • "Why go through the mess of transplantation of that magnitude?"

          Do it for science.

          If this is a world-first, regardless of the outcome, these doctors will learn from this experiment, and the body of human knowledge will grow. I think it's entirely worth it to do crazy medical stuff like this when people volunteer.

          If we don't try, we won't ever know what' possible to achieve.

      • Not possible in this case, as surrogacy is illegal in Sweden (per the article).
      • It isn't the same, and wouldn't be enough to satisfy many women. And I say that as a woman who can't get pregnant due to a lack of a functioning uterus. Part of me desperately wants to have children (in spite of being a lesbian, and despite my partner bringing 4 kids from her previous marriage), and I can say quite plainly that adoption or using a surrogate isn't the same. If there was a surgical procedure that could give me the ability to bear children myself, I would leap on it. And if the opportunity to

    • Re:Responsible? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 18, 2011 @11:44PM (#36488894)

      agree.

      It is pathetic how many resources are wasted on fertility medicine. There are plenty of children in need of adoption (not the foreign adopt a stolen kid kind); many children languish in foster care, only to graduate to the penal system when they turn 18. These kids could have radically different life paths if, folks instead invested the money, that would have gone to a fertility clinic, in an adopted child's education and upbringing..

      • Re:Responsible? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @11:57PM (#36488958)

        No, you have to remember. Squirting out one of your own makes you a wise sage and quite nearly a saint for looking after your own responsibility for the next eighteen years. It's everyone else who doesn't squirt one out and demand to replicate their genetic structure like wild dogs that are selfish and self-centered. Media outlets act like the people in this family are a cross between victims and heroes, when the real admirable thing to do would be to put all that money and energy spent trying to reproduce those faulty genes into helping some poor child out there who would be delighted to have a family of their own.

        • by Macrat (638047)
          Mod parent up please.
        • That's all well and good, but adopting your kid doesn't help propagate my genetic structure. I bet that's a pretty big reason for why fertility is a booming industry, while adoption isn't.
        • when the real admirable thing to do would be to put all that money and energy spent trying to reproduce those faulty genes into helping some poor child out there who would be delighted to have a family of their own.

          Someone is very hasty to judge on the internet. It's entirely possible that she'd adopt too, having your own children and adopting is not mutually exclusive. She obviously has her own reasons she wanted to have a child herself, don't know why you'd boil it down to "If you want baby, adopt." And all that I've heard about adopting is that it is not an easy process. I can't imagine the process is any easier in Sweden, where the population is not booming. It is plausible that transplanting her mother's ute

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Rei (128717)

        How many resources are wasted on curing people of blindness? How many resources are wasted on curing deafness? On fixing broken limbs? On cleft palate? On spinal deformities? On countless things that are about quality of life, not survival?

        • by fnj (64210)

          Worst. Parallels. Ever.

          Seriously.

          • by Rei (128717)

            Quality of life is quality of life, whether you agree with why it is quality of life to a person or not. There are many, many women on this planet who would disagree with you.

        • Re:Responsible? (Score:5, Informative)

          by narcc (412956) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @03:41AM (#36489732) Journal

          How many resources are wasted on curing deafness?

          Most of them, I'd wager. The "deaf community" is very hostile to cochlear implants -- they actually think being deaf is a good thing.

          There's a neat documentary (it's watch instant on netflix) called "Sound and Fury". If you didn't hate "deaf culture", you will after watching this eye-opening documentary.

          Never mind the rampant illiteracy and extraordinarily low unemployment, these idiots think that being deaf is perfectly normal and that they're not limited in way. Thus, they refuse their children the one technology that will make their lives easier.

          Hell, one deaf school fired it's superintendent for not being deaf from birth. These people are evil.

          • I know what you are saying is true in many cases, but you might want to be careful getting all your information from a single documentary. There are a lot of deaf people, maybe even most, who aren't so insane......
      • Re:Responsible? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @01:58AM (#36489450) Homepage

        Those that fight to have their own child, stay in the gene pool. Those that don't and raise someone else's, exit the gene pool. You don't get much stronger evolutionary pressure than that. Also from what I've heard it's not that hard to find people to adopt babies or very young children. Those you find in foster care are often older, taken out of their home because they've suffered neglect, abuse or molestation and alcoholics or junkies as parents. As a result many of them have developed huge problems of their own, which many people are reluctant to adopt. And if you end up with someone that's already in the rebellious phase who likes to point out you're not his real parents, well the amount of bonding you get will be limited. Even if people got other the part about having their own child, don't expect the institutions to be empty.

    • It's an interesting question: On the one hand, every medical procedure is experimental at some point and a statistically powerful population of poor suckers biting the bullet is the only way that that changes. On the other hand, infertility treatments are arguably 'elective' and place the hypothetical child at risk.

      Unfortunately, this brings us right into the deep end of the dubiously possible business of trying to talk sensibly about the moral interests of entities that only hypothetically exist. Any de
      • Re:Responsible? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rei (128717) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @12:08AM (#36489022) Homepage

        Pregnancies while on immunosuppressants are not rare. There's a huge body of data on their effects on fetuses. There's no body of data on humans born from transplanted uteruses, of course, but the immunosuppressant side is already well covered, and at least in theory, that is the area of concern.

        The risk to the patient is *very* real. Transplants are dangerous in the best of circumstances. The patient only needs to carry the transplant for 1 1/2 to 2 years (there's a period after the transplant where they monitor the organ for signs of failure, then there's at least one attempt at implantation, then the organ is removed at the time of birth) -- but there's still significnt chance of risk -- almost certainly a double-digit chance of death. But here's how I personally look at it. The rate of death during pregnancy before modern medicine was about 1.5%, and the average woman had many children (let's say 7 or so) to account for the high rate of infant and child mortality. That's a 10% chance of death per woman. Yet if women hadn't taken that risk -- sometimes accidentally, but more often, knowingly -- we, as a species, would not exist.

    • Re:Responsible? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @12:14AM (#36489048)

      I'd say she should adopt a child. I think that this world is already overpopulated with humans as it is.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        I'd say she should adopt a child. I think that this world is already overpopulated with humans as it is.

        Agreed. I've never understood the need to waste resources on reproduction when there are so many unwanted children in the world looking for a home.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EdgeCreeper (1618161)
          Maybe because it is because most people like to reproduce rather than show altruism as great as adopting a child. You know, human nature.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        I think that this world is already overpopulated with humans as it is.

        No it isn't. There aren't a lot of people dying of starvation due to scarcity of food, which is the usual way of indicating overpopulation. Seems to me that people starving these days are mostly due to neglect or problems with distribution, both of which would happen with half the population we have now.

        Environmental damage is not a sign of overpopulation either, that's poor resource management and again, could and would be happening with half our population levels.

        We're certainly not running out of

        • No it isn't.

          No, you misunderstand. It's overpopulated to me, specifically. I wouldn't mind there being less humans, even if it is sustainable. That's why I said "I think."

          One more kid in the world doesn't change the situation much.

          If the world were truly overpopulated, then yes it would. That is but one mentality that helps cause it.

  • Fucking adopt. Seriously. Instead of being a bunch of selfish fuckwads demanding to xerox as exact a copy of yourself as possible, how about you save all the money involved in this process and just adopt a kid or two? For the price most people spend in various attempts to squirt one of their own out (aside from this particular incident, of course), they could adopt someone and have their entire college fund taken care of from day one.

    I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for people like this. Boo hoo, you can't

    • I fully agree. Their actions are socially irresponsible, to say the least.

      To make matters worse, they are using medicine to spread defective DNA. Helping people that can't reproduce normally is going against evolution, and a direct attack on our genetic pool, and the future of our species.

      • by Rei (128717)

        It's not even known whether Rokitansky syndrome is genetic, but I notice how you just assume it is. If you want to talk about "attacks against the gene pool", why aren't you arguing that the numerous childhood diseases with *known* genetic components stop getting treatment?

      • To make matters worse, they are using medicine to spread defective DNA. Helping people that can't reproduce normally is going against evolution, and a direct attack on our genetic pool, and the future of our species.

        What you're describing is only consistent with the idea of gradualism in evolution, which was discarded by most evolutionary biologists in favor of punctuated equilibrium.

        Natural selection isn't really a constant force in any species throughout the history of life. It doesn't need to constantly act on a species to keep that species in shape. Evolution acts to create and destroy whole species, it doesn't act to improve species.

        Talking about evolution and human genetics gets even more ridiculous in

        • Helping people that can't reproduce normally is going against evolution, and a direct attack on our genetic pool, and the future of our species.

          Those evil opticians, allowing people to spread their short-sighted genes!

    • by Rei (128717)

      To blind people. Fucking get a cane. Seriously. Instead of being a bunch of selfish fuckwads demanding to see like everyone else, how about you save all the money involved in this process and just get a cane or two?

      Sorry, but many surgeries are about quality of life. And it's easy to play down another person's needs, but when it's your own, suddenly it's different.

      FYI: Müllerian agenesis (aka, Rokitansky Syndrome) doesn't just affect the uterus. The upper part of the vagina is also part of the M

      • To blind people. Fucking get a cane.

        Except that blind people are currently alive and them gaining the ability to see will not increase the human population (which I believe is already too much). What's wrong with adoption, anyway? I mean, sure, she can have the opinion that having a real children is better (and she wouldn't necessarily be wrong), but what is the actual reason?

        • by Rei (128717)

          Except that blind people are currently alive and them gaining the ability to see will not increase the human population

          So it is your view that it's okay to override what is most important to someone -- something so important to them that they'd seriously risk their life -- for population control?

          Why not just cut out a couple steps and dump birth control into the public water supply?

          • So it is your view that it's okay to override what is most important to someone

            I don't see where my post said or implied that at all. I said that there is a difference. For instance, someone could be of the opinion that living people should be able to live but not be able to overpopulate the planet.

            Why not just cut out a couple steps and dump birth control into the public water supply?

            I'm not sure that's safe. However, if something out of our control happened that rendered most people unable to reproduce, I don't think I'd care too much (although I wouldn't want to force it upon them).

            • by Rei (128717)

              I don't see where my post said or implied that at all. I said that there is a difference. For instance, someone could be of the opinion that living people should be able to live but not be able to overpopulate the planet.

              Do you or do you not support banning such procedures because you think the planet is overpopulated? You supported a non-lifesaving procedure for the purpose of improving quality of life, but oppose a different quality of life procedure because it will "increase the human population".

              (altho

              • Do you or do you not support banning such procedures because you think the planet is overpopulated? You supported a non-lifesaving procedure for the purpose of improving quality of life

                If you read it, I never actually said anything about myself. But if you want to know, then yes, if it would improve the quality if life of society as a whole (or in the future), then yes. I wouldn't want to force infertility upon someone, but not allowing them to have kids is something that I would support if I believed that the situation called for it.

      • Since when is having children a need?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dunno about there, but adopting babies almost impossible in US. There simply is not enough to fulfill the need.

      I have some relatives that tried to "save the world" as they put it, and adopt kids (not babies). These are very intelligent parents, one has masters in nursing, the second a masters in mathematics and education. The kids were not emotionally stable when they got them at ages from about 8-10 years old. 30 years later one killed himself after losing total visitation rights to his kids, a second

      • by nido (102070)

        I believe there is a very strong desire among most adults to replicate.

        A person can learn a lot from their kids. Raising children is a learning experience unlike any other. Some people don't want to go there, and that's fine for them.

    • by gr8dude (832945) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @04:40AM (#36489898) Homepage

      The ending bit of the video attached to the article - "if this fails, she plans to adopt". Can you blame her for trying before giving up?

      You say "can't replicate like a feral cat", but that is not what is really happening. Those parents who abandon their children usually breed like feral cats (hence there is a great supply of such children), whereas in her case it is not mentioned anywhere that she wants a "houseful" of babies.

      You also say that people should better spend their money in different ways. But if they earned it, don't they have the right to choose what to do with it? [as long as it is not something illegal - like buying guns and killing other people]

      I may have acted differently, had I been in their shoes, but I can't say I have reasons to say they are stupid or irresponsible.

  • by ip_freely_2000 (577249) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @12:18AM (#36489076)
    the mother-in-law's uterus. I think my testicles just shrank into my belly.
    • by imsabbel (611519)

      Yup.

      Plus the woman will be able to do a chinatown... "She is my daughter.... and my sister..."

      (ok, actually not, as she does not have a genetic contribution its not her biological daughter...)

  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @02:29AM (#36489544)
    ADOPT! ADOPT! ADOPT!

    How can you criticize a woman for doing something like this? She wants to have her own child by any means necessary that's her decision to make. There has been and always will be a different sense of nurturing from the womb onward. My mother is a mother of 4 but a mom to 14+(and this number grows.) She will show love and kindness to any child that comes into her life, but with her 4 boys there's something special. Im sure this is true of any caring mother. It takes a special kind of caring and compassionate person to be an adoptive parent. I applaud these people and I am thankful that they exist in the world, but as a man there will be nothing more special to me than to hold my baby that came from the connection i share with my partner. I know she will feel the same.

    How about you focus your misdirected anger at the men and women of the world who choose to spread their legs without thinking of the consequences. Why should they go about their activities with the idea that "meh, someone will adopt this baby." I understand that not every woman has a choice. Some are forced into screwed up situations and they would rather adopt than abort, but these cases are outnumbered by the idiots who engage in senseless acts of procreation.
    • Nothing wrong with preferring to have biological children, of course. But it's still a serious question to some of us. Why should a baby that is a result of your DNA more special than someone else's child? I always thought the joys of parenting were to do with human relationships rather than the passing on of one's DNA. Isn't this "something special" really just sentimentality or instinct?

      As for the second part, do I really need to dignify that with a response?

      • A mother's relationship with her biological child starts with the very moment that child comes from her body. The erratic emotional state of a mother(crazy love or crazy hatred) helps build that bond from the start. Breastfeeding for the very first time, and time again after that. According to the women i've shared this story with, these are crucial moments in the bonding process. Obviously adoptive parents arent going to get this start. Thats not to say they wont love the child, but this is part of that sp
        • I get what you're saying. But if biological children have a greater bond, then doesn't that imply that parents who adopt don't love their children as much? Or do you think there are some important distinctions between "bond" and "love" in this context? In retrospect, one can see the differences, but if one has only raised an adopted child, then do you really think their relationship is somehow quantitatively less special or advantageous? If you can have biological children, then that's great, and you can em

  • First you come out of it, then they put it into you, so someone else can come out of it.

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @03:56AM (#36489786) Homepage

    This is great for writing medical papers, but in truth it is simply irresponsible medicine. If she can't have a child, well, life's a bitch. If this works, she is going to be on massive medication, like any transplant patient. To conceive and carry a child under those circumstances is simply nuts. Even organizations that totally support transplant patients point out the massive risks [transplantliving.org] involved.

    If this woman is this desperate for a child, she needs psychological counseling more than she needs a new uterus.

  • womb for improvement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pensano (168570) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @11:04AM (#36491072) Homepage

    From the spacetime topological perspective, would this make her the first human Klein bottle?

  • I think now would be a good time to begin archiving our important scientific and mathematic discoveries for the future sentient beings that may eventually take our place. Primates, I'm looking at you...

    I am developing a language that any intelligent creature grasping basic mathematics should be able to decipher. Previous attempts seem sophomoric to me, and assume too much (low res. raster of a man, child and woman? Don't make me laugh).

    In the stone and crystalline tablets we should denounce the perception of the knowledge as coming from a race of Gods, and to this end include the story of our great achievements in gene pool pollution.

    Do you have a genetic defect? Welcome to the gene pool! We'll be happy to go through any lengths to ensure you can spread your corrupted genetic sequence on to other lifeforms -- Even if it means growing your offspring in another being, or transplanting wombs!

    Natural Selection be damned; We'll do whatever it takes to not discriminate against your deformities in the bedroom.

    Of course I would tone down the irony and describe the principals in simple genetic and mathematical terms for our successors. However, I assume my fellow Slashdoters -- being of the same culture and language -- can easily grasp the principals I have sarcastically alluded to above.

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