Daughter to Undergo Transplant of Mom's Womb

Daughter hopes receiving her mother's uterus will solve her infertility.

ByABC News
June 13, 2011, 3:21 PM

June 14, 2011— -- Sara Ottosson, 25, of Stockholm, Sweden, could be the first woman to give birth to a baby using the same womb in which she was conceived and carried to term.

Ottosson, who was born without a uterus, will undergo an experimental procedure to have her mother's uterus transplanted into her, according to a BBC News report.

"It's the only way my daughter can have a child by herself," Eva Ottosson, Sara's 56-year-old mother, told BBC News. Eva Ottoson agreed to donate her uterus in hopes that her daughter could one day give birth.

Sara Ottosson has Mayer Rokitanksy Kuster Hauser syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by an undeveloped or absent vagina, and an absent uterus. The syndrome affects one out of nearly 5,000 births, according to the Magic Foundation.

Women who live with the syndrome generally adopt or undergo surrogacy to start a family.

"If it doesn't work, she's still going to adopt," said Eva Ottosson.

Researchers from Sweden approached the mother and daughter about undergoing the experimental procedure, she said.

Ottosson admitted she initially thought the procedure was bizarre. But now, she and her daughter both see it as they would any other organ transplant.

"We thought, yeah, let's go for it," she told BBC News.

While this is not the first attempt at a human uterus transplant, none have resulted in successful pregnancies.

"It'll be a challenge," said Dr. Charles Coddington, chairman of reproductive medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who is not involved in the Ottossons' case. "It seems like even the animal techniques have not been totally worked out."

In 2000, surgeons in Saudi Arabia attempted to transplant a uterus into a 26-year-old woman. The uterus was removed nearly four months later because of complications.

One of the most challenging parts of the procedure is connecting the tiny blood vessels of the ovary to the newly transplanted uterus, said Coddington.

Coddington said Ottosson's age, and the age of her uterus, would not put her daughter at a higher risk for complications from the transplant. But if Sara Ottosson were to carry the pregnancy to term, it's likely she would undergo a Caesarean section.

"It'll be interesting to see if it can sustain a baby," said Coddington, adding that it's unknown whether the uterus could successfully stretch and deliver enough blood to a fetus.

The Ottosson's are expected to undergo the transplant in spring 2012.

ABC News' Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.