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Toward Acceptance of Uterus Transplants


  • David Orentlicher

  • This column appears by arrangement with the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.


Should surgeons offer uterus transplants to women who want to become pregnant but do not have a functioning uterus? The debate reminds us that society often neglects the interests of the infertile.

Only a handful of uterus transplants have been reported worldwide—including two this past September—but advances in technique may make the transplants available more widely. Some women are born without a functioning uterus; others have hysterectomies for cancer, postpartum hemorrhage, or other reasons. Many of these women want to become mothers and carry their own pregnancies. However, the prospect of uterus transplantation has elicited sharp criticism. According to ethics professor Rebecca Kukla, the surgery is not, “in any traditional sense, therapeutic.”

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