A woman's wish to experience pregnancy and give birth is closer to being fulfilled after she received the first uterus transplant ever performed in the US. Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio performed the transplant using a uterus from a deceased donor on Wednesday, the New York Times reports. On Thursday, the clinic announced that the 26-year-old recipient, whose name was not given, was in stable condition. About 50,000 women in the US could be candidates for the surgery, which can enable women to become pregnant despite being born without a uterus, having had theirs removed or experiencing abnormalities in the uterus that cause infertility. The Cleveland Clinic's ethics panel has granted permission for 10 such surgeries; then a decision will be made whether to offer it as a standard procedure.
Similar surgeries have been performed in Sweden and Turkey, according to ABC News, with four births occurring in Sweden after nine transplants. Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who led the nine-hour surgery, traveled to Sweden to consult with doctors there. The recipient of Wednesday's transplant will need to wait a year before trying to get pregnant via in vitro fertilization. If she's successful, she'll give birth by C-section. After she has had one or two babies, the uterus will be removed so she can stop taking anti-rejection drugs. Although other options are available to women who can't become pregnant, such as adoption or surrogacy, some find them unacceptable "for reasons that are personal, cultural, or religious," Tzakis says. "I crave that experience," one infertile woman reportedly said during the surgery screening process. "I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel the baby move. That is something I've wanted for as long as I can remember." (Read more uterus transplant stories.)