UK Mother Says She’ll Donate Her Womb to Her Daughter

56-year-old Eva Ottosson will donate her womb to her 25-year-old daughter, Sara, who has a rare disorder, Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), which causes the uterus and vagina to be underdeveloped or absent. The Ottossons are awaiting approval from doctors to see if the surgery — one of the world’s first womb transplants for humans — will be carried out. As the Guardian reports, the operation is still highly experimental and carries risks for both the donor and the recipient.

MRKH is also known as Müllerian agenesis and is very rare, occurring in one out of 5000 women. Sara Ottosson, a biology teacher in Stockholm, learned that she had the condition when she was high school age and did not start menstruating. Notes the Guardian:

If the operation goes ahead – at a hospital in Sweden – Sara could conceive and carry a child in the same womb she herself was born from, but serious technical hurdles must be cleared if the procedure is to succeed.The operation is experimental and still at a premature stage in animal studies. Only a handful of mice have been born from transplanted wombs and little work has been done in larger animals, such as pigs, rabbits and monkeys.

The deeply complex nature of the operation carries serious risks for the donor and recipient, leading some doctors to claim the procedure is not ready to be performed in humans. “As a mother you have all these questions: have you thought it through; do you know what you are doing; how do you feel about having the same womb that you have been developed in yourself,” Eva Ottosson told the BBC.

Ottosson notes that she’s aware of the risks to herself, but more worried about what might happen to her daughter. Womb transplant surgery is “technically more demanding than a heart, kidney or liver transplant” and carries, among other risks, the possibility of “life-threatening haemorrhage and an insufficient blood supply to the womb.” A 26-year-old Saudi Arabian woman had a womb from a dead donor transplanted in 2000, but doctors had to remove the organ when, after three months, “it developed a blood clot and began to die.” In 2009, surgeons and veterinarians performed womb transplant operations in several rabbits, none of whom became pregnant afterwards.

Dr. Mats Brannstrom of Gothenburg University in Sweden is a “leader in the field of experimental womb transplants” and runs a program in which women are tested to see if they are suitable for such a transplant. Sara Ottosson is one of seven women who have undergone the tests so far. Brannstrom says that such womb transplants could be carried out as early as next year.

Were a womb transplant to occur, a woman would then need to IVF to become pregnant from her eggs and her partner’s sperm, and the baby would have to be delivered by Caesarean section.

Would the benefits of being able to carry one’s own child outweigh the risks of such experimental surgery as a womb transplant?


Photo by o5com.

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Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

Seems way to much trouble and expenses (well, the taxpayers in Sweden will foot the bill) just to have your own child. As mentioned, there are other options and as far as I'm concerned there are no universal rights enscribed somewhere stating we are entitled to our own children. Having children is a priviledge and there are so many kids out there that need a forever loving home.

Petra Luna
Petra Luna4 years ago

Modern science and technology is awesome. But aren't there other ways for this young woman to become a mother? So if the uterus is underdeveloped, what about the ovaries? Those are still normal? It just seems very odd that the doctors didn't notice before.

Salome Waters
Salome Waters4 years ago

Please, mother. Do not endanger your and your daughter's lives so.

There are so many children in need of adoptions. Give one of them a loving, welcoming home.

Beth Weatherbee
Beth Weatherbee4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this information.

Sheri P.
Sheri P.4 years ago

Wow...womb transplant? If that's really what she wants that's her choice. It wouldn't be worth the risks for me. There are so many ways to bring a child into your life...why not choose an alternative?

Eva B.
Eva B.4 years ago

I thought you might be interested to know that Eva Braun also suffered from MRKH syndrome, as I am sure a lot of other prominent women did and do. More on Eva Braun can be found in my new biography "The Untold Story of Eva Braun." Thomas Lundmark

Emily W.
Emily W.4 years ago

I am wondering why they are not trying out the new stem cell transplant for this young woman. They have transplanted over 30 organs already (all sucessful), and there will be no doner risk (since the doner would be the patient) and less of a risk.

Kevin F.
Kevin F.4 years ago

:) Better yet grow her one in the lab using her own stem cells. Maybe using her mothers as a scaffolding.

Myriam G.
Myriam G.4 years ago

Dear Marina G
I understand, from your comment, that you are a bit grossed out by the whole child-bearing/giving birth process...

... but I can tell you many women find the process empowering, inspiring, even spiritual. I was a midwifery student for 2 years, and saw 25 babies being born, and that beautiful experience will stay with me forever. I also have 3 children myself, and I love to remember being pregnant, despite all the big and little worries.

Are the Ottosson's going too far? Would I do the same for my daughter (though I know none of them need it)? I don't know... maybe. But they is no denying the intensity of the experience of having another human being inside you, and then helping that little human being start its own "independence" process.

Marina G.
Marina G.4 years ago

People, you are missing the point. The daughter CAN have her own child - without the transplant. It's about her wanting to CARRY the child herself. Right now, a surrogate can carry her biological child without all the risk and suffering of the womb transplant. I totally understand her desire to have her child. But I do not understand her desire to be pregnant and carry (and then to give birth- ugh!) After all, even w/out the risks and side effects of this procedure, pregnancy itself, no matter how uneventful, is fairly hard on one's body. I would rather hire a surrogate than go through the pregnancy in any case if I could help it.