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Transplantation of female genital organs

Authors

  • Mats Brännström,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Transplantation Biology Laboratory, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
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  • César Díaz-García

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Transplantation Biology Laboratory, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
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Professor Mats Brännström, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, S-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden. Email: mats.brannstrom@obgyn.gu.se

Abstract

Transplantation of gynecological organs is a medical field where considerable advancements have been made in research during the last 25 years and with some procedures already introduced as clinical treatments. These types of transplantations aim at curing permanent infertility. Uterus transplantation has been proven to be a feasible procedure in different experimentation animal models with proof of concept concerning surgery, control of rejection and fertility. There has already been one human transplantation attempt, which, however, was unsuccessful. Based on the progress in this area, we predict that the first successful uterus transplantation attempt will come within 2–3 years. Orthotopic ovarian cortex transplantation has overcome the status of an experimental procedure since more than 20 pregnancies have been reported. Its main field of application is fertility preservation in oncologic patients undergoing high gonadotoxic risk therapies. The role of heterotopic ovarian cortex transplantation still remains at the research level, although co-transplantation with an orthotopic cortex might facilitate a more accurate endocrine environment. The major drawback of ovarian cortex transplantation remains the long ischemic interval between re-implantation and the establishment of neovascularization. Whole ovary cryopreservation followed by transplantation through vascular anastomosis may emerge as an important procedure in this field, because the warm ischemic time would be reduced from several days to less than 1 h, which will most likely improve follicle survival. In summary, transplantation surgery is also entering the field of gynecology and in the future several types of transplantations of organs/tissues of the female reproductive tract may become established clinical procedures.

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