medicine

First U.S. Womb Transplant May Allow Infertile Women to Give Birth

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Trans women and men could one day become pregnant, too. 

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have become the first in the United States to perform a uterus transplant. The nine-hour surgery took place on Feb. 24 when an organ from a deceased donor was successfully implanted into a 26-year-old patient.

If the trial’s success continues, it may give women born without a uterus, or who have had one removed due to uterine damage, their only chance to carry a child. This transplant is one of ten test procedures planned by the clinic.

The uterus, cervix, and part of the vagina are removed from the donor. Surgeons also remove the small blood vessels that are connected to the uterus. These vessels then connect the donor’s uterus to the patient’s larger blood vessels on the outside of the pelvis. If the patient still has fallopian tubes or ovaries, they are left unconnected.

Because of the nature of the transplant, it’s impossible for recipients to give birth naturally. They will have to wait a year after the procedure for their bodies to heal before starting in vitro fertilization (IVF). When ready, the baby is delivered via caesarean.

Like all transplants, the patient is required to take anti-rejection medication. Because of this, the uterus is removed after one or two babies have been born.

Read the full post at Future of Sex.

Image source: Eric Schmuttenmaer

 

 

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Biohackers Want to Save Lives with DIY Gynaecology

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Despite the achievements of feminism, thousands of women around the world remain deprived of safe gynaecological treatment. Sex workers, immigrants, and the uninsured are just a few who fall through the bureaucratic gaps that deny them life-changing service. However, a collective of biohackers and feminists aims to change this. By harnessing recyclable electronics and information sharing, this group of “Gynepunks” is riding the wave of do-it-yourself gynaecology.

Do-it-yourself-gynaecology isn’t a new idea. Conceived during the feminist movement of the 1970s, it was a response to both a lack of available services and the male-dominated field that women found onerous and judgemental.

Options at this stage were limited. Primarily, women learned about “gynaecological self-help” through feminist events and publications. After the cervical-self-exam took off in 1972, women became increasingly excited to learn about their bodies and how to treat them.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex

Image via National Eye Institute

If given the choice, would you save a life?

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Yesterday I registered as an organ donor. I’m 23, but I’d have done it at 18 if the thought had occurred. Luckily it did. It’s nice to know my consent is confirmed, out of the way, sorted. What difference does it make? I don’t harbour spiritual unease at the idea of my body being tampered with after death. I can save a life after mine has ended (up to ten, actually), enrich a family, and all I have to do is sign on the dotted line.

There are approximately 1500 people on transplant waiting lists at any given time in Australia. Last year in Victoria, 378 donors gave new lives to over 1000 people. But that’s still only 16 donors per one million people.

Click here to read my full article petitioning Daniel Andrews MP to implement a compulsory opt-in/opt-out registration system.

UPDATE: This has been republished by Centrethought – a cool website where uni students give their opinions about the world.

Image: Donatelife