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Ethical considerations in uterus transplantation

Authors Woessner J, Blake V, Arora K

Received 19 June 2015

Accepted for publication 7 August 2015

Published 30 September 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 81—88


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Bethany Spielman

Jessica R Woessner,1 Valarie K Blake,2 Kavita Shah Arora1,3

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA; 2College of Law, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA; 3Department of Bioethics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Abstract: Uterus transplantation offers a novel treatment option for women with uterine factor infertility. While currently in the early clinical research phase, uterus transplantation will likely provide an alternative to adoption or gestational surrogacy, which is not permitted in some parts of the world. It uniquely allows for women with uterine factor infertility to experience the gestational component of motherhood and also to potentially share a genetic link with the offspring. Clinical research on uterus transplantation has been in process since the 1960s, and the first human live birth following transplant was reported in 2014. However, given the rapid clinical advancement, it is important to review the medical safety of the procedure and ethical dilemmas for the donor, recipient, and resulting child as well as the regulatory landscape that will ultimately guide clinical adoption. Given that uterus transplantation brings together the challenges of both assisted reproductive technology as well as organ transplantation as the world's first ephemeral transplant, it is important to discuss the ethical, legal, and social implications prior to moving from research to widespread clinical practice.

Keywords: ethics, regulation, infertility

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