Two women now carry their mothers' wombs after successful transplant surgery in Sweden, the University of Gothenburg reports.
It's a major step in a research project that surgeons had been training for for years, according to the university.
"More than 10 surgeons that had trained together on the procedure for several years took part in the complicated surgery," said team leader Mats Brännström, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Gothenburg chief physician at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital Women's Clinic.
He described the patients as tired, but doing fine. One had her uterus removed during surgery for cancer; the other was born without one.
"We are not going to call it a complete success until this results in children," surgeon Michael Olausson told The Associated Press.
That won't be known for a while: Doctors will monitor the transplanted organs for a year before continuing in vitro fertilization.
There have been other uterus transplants: in 2000, a woman received a uterus from a live donor that was removed after three months due to a blood clot, and last year doctors in Turkey transplanted a womb from a deceased donor. The hope with familial transplants is that there's a lower chance of organ rejection. The emotional connection is also important, Olausson said.
Potential concerns for pregnancies in the transplanted wombs include how the immune-suppressing drugs that prevent organ rejection could affect a fetus, and how a uterus without all its original blood vessels may affect the chances of getting pregnant, doctors said.
Photo: A uterus. Credit: iStockPhoto