Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine recently announced the success of two uterus transplants performed as part of their clinical trial.
Penn Med researchers began their trial in 2017 and have since performed the surgery as part of their investigation into the procedure. It is currently unknown if these two transplants have resulted in pregnancies or live births.
Kate O’Neill, an obstetrician-gynecologist who co-leads the program, told CBS Local News that she is excited to offer this surgery as a potential option for women who want to have children.
“We’re at a point where we can say there’s this new third option which is uterus transplant and you can actually carry a pregnancy,” O’Neill told CBS Local News. “To be a part of the development of a new treatment in medicine is incredibly exciting and scary but I have learned so much."
The procedure is designed to help women who have Uterine Factor Infertility and are unable to have children due to a missing or non-functioning uterus. In 2016, Baylor University began this endeavor in the United States, and since then three of their uterine transplants have yielded successful live births, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Uterus transplantation is a controversial procedure as it consists of transplanting from a donor to the recipient, who must then take anti-rejection drugs until giving birth. The procedure is also not covered by insurance because it is not a life-saving procedure, according to the Inquirer.
Penn, along with Baylor and the Cleveland Clinic, formed the U.S. Uterus Transplant Consortium. On Nov. 7, the researchers gathered on Capitol Hill to brief Congress on the surgery's development and raise awareness for the operation.
Penn has 330 potential recipients and 70 living donors who have volunteered for the program, CBS Local News reported.