Australia's first uterus transplants

·2-min read

A dozen women will become Australia's first recipients of uterus transplants after a research project was granted approval to begin clinical trials.

Ethics approval has been granted to The Royal Women's Hospital in Sydney to carry out the country's first uterus transplants from early next year as part of new clinical trials.

Uterus transplants can allow women previously unable to carry babies to conceive and give birth.

Paediatric adolescent gynaecologist Rebecca Deans and her team will perform 12 uterine transplant surgeries beginning early next year - six from live donor transplants and six from deceased donors.

Coffs Harbour woman Kirsty Bryant is expected to be one of the first women in Australia to receive a uterus transplant early next year, with her mother Michelle stepping up as donor.

The 29-year-old underwent an emergency hysterectomy last year after suffering a major haemorrhage while giving birth to her first child.

"I'm going to be growing my own child in the same womb I grew in, which is pretty hard to get your head around" Mrs Bryant said.

"It's an amazing gift my Mum is giving me - she is incredibly generous and she is the reason I wanted to become a mother in the first place."

Trial candidates include women born without uteruses, or those who had them removed due to cancer or childbirth complications.

Women who fit the candidate profile may have other options, including surrogacy or adoption, Dr Deans said.

"But for many women that isn't enough to fulfil their deep desire to actually be able to carry a child themselves."

Uterus transplant surgery is not considered a therapeutic option for women yet, but clinical trials are a step in the right direction.

"This is different to other forms of organ transplants as it's a temporary transplant which usually lasts around five years, enough time to allow a woman to have children," Dr Deans said.

The surgery has already been performed more than 70 times overseas and resulted in more than 40 successful births.

The first Australian transplant will be overseen by Mats Brannstrom, a Swedish surgeon who performed the procedure successfully for the first time in 2012.

He will fly to Sydney to oversee the surgery.

The research project will run for five years and involve about 40 medical officials from hospitals across Sydney including the Royal Hospital for Women, Westmead, Blacktown, Campbelltown and the Prince of Wales Hospital.