Education Corner – Uterus Transplantation

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Paving the way

  • The first successful uterus transplants were performed in Sweden.
  • They have resulted in five live births to date and the uteri came from living donors.
  • About a decade of research and clinical trial collaboration has occurred between the Swedish team and the Cleveland Clinic.

A first in the U.S.

The first U.S. uterus transplant was performed in February of 2016:

  • The Cleveland Clinic is administering the U.S.’s first clinical trial of uterus transplantation for reproductive age women with Uterine Factor Infertility (UFI).
  • UFI: pregnancy is impossible due to being born without a uterus, uterus having been removed, or uterus non-functioning; affects 3 to 5 million women worldwide.
  • 10 participants (age 21-29 with UFI) are planned for the clinical trial.
  • The uterus transplant is intended to be a temporary transplant to allow a woman her only opportunity to carry a pregnancy
    • The uterus would remain in situ for 1-2 pregnancies after which anti-rejection medications would be discontinued and the uterus removed or allowed to disintegrate.
  • The first transplant at the Cleveland Clinic, lasted more than 9 hours.
  • Soon after the transplant, the uterus was removed following a sudden complication due to an infection that affected blood supply to the organ.

How Uterus Transplantation Works

The planned uterus transplantation process:YouTube_uterus

  • Recipient candidate screening and selection.
  • Donor identification: age 18-40 with a healthy uterus.
  • Recipient IVF initiated; 6-10 embryos frozen.
  • Anti-rejection meds initiated; donor uterus and blood supply transplanted.
  • Uterus heals after 12 months; embryos implanted one by one.
  • Anti-rejection drugs given throughout pregnancy; monthly cervical biopsies performed to monitor for rejection.
  • Baby delivered by C-section; anti-rejection meds halted after 1-2 babies.
  • See Cleveland Clinic’s infographic for more facts about uterus transplant.
  • Read Q & A with lead surgeon Dr. Andreas Tzakis
  • Watch animation video (click on image)

What Now?

Three additional programs reportedly plan to launch experimental uterus transplants: Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (New York Times)

A special thanks to Elizabeth Spencer from Elizabeth Katherine Communications LLC for her contributions to this issue.

Cleveland Clinic
The Lancet, Livebirth after uterus transplantation (Feb 14, 2015)
The Denise Grady (March 9, 2016). First US Transplant Has Failed. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Editor: Hedi Aguiar RN, MSN, Director of Programs and Communications, The Alliance,
This Education Corner is available for download. The Alliance grants permission for the distribution and reproduction of this educational communication.


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