Living uterus donation and transplantation: experience of interest and screening in a single center in the United States
Giuliano Testa M.D.
Johannesson, L., K. Wallis, E. C. Koon, G. J. McKenna, T. Anthony, S. G. Leffingwell, G. B. Klintmalm, R. T. Gunby, Jr. and G. Testa (2018). “Living uterus donation and transplantation: experience of interest and screening in a single center in the United States.” Am J Obstet Gynecol 218(3): 331.e331-331.e337.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about attitudes toward uterus donation and transplantation in society and the interest of the women the treatment is aimed to assist. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the interest of recipients and living donors in our uterus transplantation program; it describes the screening protocol we developed and the results of the screening and reports demographic data and characteristics of screened candidates. STUDY DESIGN: Initial screening and evaluation included physical examinations by a gynecologist and a transplant surgeon; psychological evaluation; imaging (x-ray, computed tomography, ultrasound); blood tests; immunological testing; viral, bacterial, and fungal testing; drug screen; hormonal testing; Papanicolau smear; urinalysis; and electrocardiogram. For selected recipients, the process also included in vitro fertilization. RESULTS: A total of 351 women contacted our department with interest in participating in uterus transplantation; 272 were potential recipients and 79 were potential donors. Among these women, 179 potential recipients and 62 potential donors continued the evaluation after the initial telephone screening. The mean age of the donor candidates was 40 years; all had completed their own family, and 80% were nondirected. Most recipient candidates (92%) had an anatomical lack of the uterus, and of these, 36% had a congenital malformation. The women with a congenital uterine absence were in general younger than the women in the group whose uterus had been removed (mean of 28 and 33 years, respectively). In every step of the initial screening and evaluation process, there were donor and recipient candidates that chose not to continue the process. The reasons for self-withdrawal after expressing interest were not returning phone calls or e-mails (17 donors and 76 recipients); after initial phone screening, no longer interested (1 donor and 9 recipients); in step 1, health history questionnaire not returned after 1 reminder (10 donors and 9 recipients); step 2, not right in their current life situation (2 donors and 2 recipients), and in step 3, chose another way to achieve motherhood (1 recipient). Most donor and recipient candidates (52% and 78%, respectively) could be screened out (because of self-withdrawal or transplant team’s decision) during the noninvasive and cost-efficient initial screening. CONCLUSION: Our initial experience shows a great interest in participating in a trial of uterus transplantation by both potential recipients and donors. It is the first study to show interest in nondirected donation. A sufficient but thoughtful screening process of living donors and recipients is essential and should aim both to assure donor/recipient safety and to provide good quality grafts.