Uterine transplant research sees positive results
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Progress is being made in research into uterus transplantation. Nine children have so far been born in Sweden to mothers with transplanted uteri. But to receive a transplanted uterus, it's necessary to find a donor yourself, and recent research shows that this can create challenges.

Asking someone, often your own mother, for her uterus tests the relationship, and raises questions about both motherhood and the significance of a uterus throughout life.

Uterus transplantation combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF) (henceforth called UTx-IVF) as a treatment for infertility caused by an absence or malfunction of the uterus is advancing. In this article, the investigator explores how 10 women—who have considered and sometimes pursued, UTx-IVF—describe their experiences of searching for a donor. He aims to show how an analysis of such accounts can help us unpack some of the specific relational and gendered dimensions of UTx-IVF and by doing so enrich discussions of risks, benefits, care, and support in UTx-IVF.

Drawing on research in social sciences and medical humanities that has demonstrated how assisted reproductive technologies and organ donation can provoke social and familial conundrums, with respect to such topics as embodiment and identity, the researcher presents three patterns that describe different dimensions of the interviewees’ quest for a uterus donor. He discusses the negotiations that took place, how expectations unfolded and how entanglements were managed as the interviewees considered asking someone for a donation.

Such an examination contributes to making care and supports more attuned to the experiences and entanglements that UTx-IVF entails for those pursuing it. This will become increasingly important if UTx-IVF becomes part of general healthcare.

To conclude, the researcher problematizes responsibilities and relational challenges in medical innovation, and in this way provide insights into how the ethical debate over UTx-IVF can broaden its scope.

Medical Humanities
Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2020-011864
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