Healthy, fertile mice have been born from mothers with transplanted wombs, Swedish scientists announced on Tuesday. The technique researchers developed to achieve the feat could lead to the first human birth from a transplanted womb within three years, they say.
The team is led by Mats Brännström, at Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, and first births of live pups were reported by New Scientist in August 2002. But the latest results show that the offspring are themselves healthy and able to reproduce.
Brännström and colleagues transplanted uteruses into mice alongside their normal uteruses and transferred embryos for implantation two weeks later. The pregnancy rate of 70 per cent was the same in transplanted and normal uteruses, he says.
Womb transplants could help women who are infertile due to uterine problems, offering them an alternative to finding a surrogate mother for their baby.