“As we have seen from the tremendously successful womb transplant programme being carried out by our colleagues in Sweden, this operation is clearly a viable option for those women who otherwise have absolutely no chance of carrying their own baby”.
They are set to start the trials, which have just received the ethical approval from the Imperial College of London this spring.
Around one in 5,000 women is born without a womb.
More than 100 women have already been deemed suitable and are hoping they will be follow the four Swedish patients who have given birth following the world’s first successful womb transplants.
Mr. Smith, a 50-year-old gynecologist consultant based at Chelsea Hospital and Queen Charlotee’s, said he was “really pleased” to have been given the permission for the move, which saw a woman without womb carry her own baby in Sweden.
He said the technique offers hope to those whose only option is surrogacy or adoption.
How would the procedure work? The womb will be taken from a donor who has died but whose heart has been kept beating.
After 12 months on immunosuppressant drugs and close monitoring, each woman will be implanted with one of her embryos, with the hope of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Surgeons have been granted approval to carry out groundbreaking womb transplants in the United Kingdom for the first time.
This is to minimise the risk of keeping women on immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives, which have side-effects, including an increased risk of cancer.
In order to be eligible for the trial procedure, women must have functioning ovaries, their own eggs, a long term partner, be of a healthy weight and be aged between 25-38.
“There is no doubt that, for couples, it is a disaster to be childless”.
“Infertility is a hard thing to treat for these women”, says Dr. Smith.
He said: “In many women, there is a deep yearning to carry children and this is not fulfilled by surrogacy”.
I’ve met numerous women who want this and it’s really important for them and their partners.
More than 300 women approached Smith’s team, with 104 meeting those criteria.
However, the trial needs to raise £500,000 before any operations can take place.
However, there are doubts of whether the NHS will fund the£40,000 process, after the study is completed.
If all goes smoothly, a baby would be delivered nine months later by caesarean. The new mother said: ‘As soon as I felt this flawless baby boy on my chest, I had tears of happiness and enormous relief’.
What is a womb transplant, who would benefit from the surgery and what lies ahead for the 10 women who are selected for transplants? Coordinaters of the project have estimated that there could be about five wombs a year available for the operation.
“The project has run with no money from the start”.