The Montreal Criteria for the Ethical Feasibility of Uterine Transplantation


  • Conflicts of Interest
    The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

  • Synopsis: Uterine transplantation is under investigation for the treatment of uterine factor infertility. Before the transplant becomes standard practice, an ethical framework should be established.

Jacques Balayla, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler, Room 508, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1Y6. Tel.: 1-(514)-830-7849; fax: 1-(514)-489-5870; e-mail:


Absolute uterine factor infertility (UFI) refers to the refractory causes of female infertility stemming from the anatomical or physiological inability of a uterus to sustain gestation. Today, uterine factor infertility affects 3–5% of the population. Traditionally, although surrogacy and adoption have been the only viable options for females affected by this condition, the uterine transplant is currently under investigation as a potential medical alternative for women who desire to go through the experience of pregnancy. Although animal models have shown promising results, human transplantation cases have only been described in case reports and a successful transplant leading to gestation is yet to occur in humans. Notwithstanding the intricate medical and scientific complexities that a uterine transplant places on the medical minds of our time, ethical questions on this matter pose a similar, if not greater, challenge. In light of these facts, this article attempts to present the ethical issues in the context of experimentation and standard practice which surround this controversial and potentially paradigm-altering procedure; and given these, introduces “The Montreal Criteria for the Ethical Feasibility of Uterine Transplantation”, a set of proposed criteria required for a woman to be ethically considered a candidate for uterine transplantation.