Uterine transplantation-a real possibility? the Indianapolis consensus

  • Del Priore G
  • Saso S
  • Meslin E
 et al. 
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Abstract

A group of experts gathered in Indianapolis in December 2011 to address lingering concerns related to uterus transplantation (UTn). They represent a multi-national group of four research teams who have worked for over 15 years on bringing UTn to reality for patients. Presented here are a set of parameters that must be considered in order for UTn to become an acceptable procedure in the human setting. UTn has been proposed as a potential solution to absolute uterine factor infertility (AUFI). Causes of AUFI include congenital uterine factors (i.e. absence or malformation) or acquired uterine factors (e.g. hysterectomy for uncontrollable hemorrhage) rendering a woman 'unconditionally infertile'. Current estimates are that in the USA, up to 7 million women with AUFI may be appropriate candidates for UTn. As a result of a first human attempt in 2000, investigators have responded with a plethora of publications demonstrating successful UTn attempts, including pregnancies, in various autogeneic, syngeneic and allogeneic animal models. Before UTn can become an accepted procedure, it must satisfy defined criteria for any surgical innovation, i.e. research background, field strength and institutional stability. Equally important, UTn must satisfy accepted bioethical principles (respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice) and their application (informed consent, appropriate assessment of risk and benefit and fair selection of individuals). Furthermore, we believe that a defined number of transplants should not be exceeded worldwide without a successful term delivery, to minimize proceeding in futility using current techniques. Even if UTns were to become relatively common, the following research objectives should be continuously pursued: (i) additional pregnancies in a variety of large animal/primate models (to search for unanticipated consequences), (ii) continuous assessment of women diagnosed with AUFI regarding UTn, (iii) continuous assessment using 'borrowed' psychological tools from transplant centers, adoption agencies and assisted reproductive technology centers with potential recipients and (iv) continuous careful ethical reflection, assessment and approval.

Author-supplied keywords

  • female infertility
  • transplantation
  • uterus

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Authors

  • Giuseppe Del Priore

  • Srdjan Saso

  • Eric M. Meslin

  • Andreas Tzakis

  • Mats Brännström

  • Alex Clarke

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