The Montreal Criteria for the Ethical Feasibility of Uterine Transplantation

Transpl Int. 2012 Apr;25(4):439-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2012.01438.x. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


Absolute uterine factor infertility (UFI) refers to the refractory causes of female infertility stemming from the anatomical or physiological inability of a uterus to sustain gestation. Today, uterine factor infertility affects 3-5% of the population. Traditionally, although surrogacy and adoption have been the only viable options for females affected by this condition, the uterine transplant is currently under investigation as a potential medical alternative for women who desire to go through the experience of pregnancy. Although animal models have shown promising results, human transplantation cases have only been described in case reports and a successful transplant leading to gestation is yet to occur in humans. Notwithstanding the intricate medical and scientific complexities that a uterine transplant places on the medical minds of our time, ethical questions on this matter pose a similar, if not greater, challenge. In light of these facts, this article attempts to present the ethical issues in the context of experimentation and standard practice which surround this controversial and potentially paradigm-altering procedure; and given these, introduces "The Montreal Criteria for the Ethical Feasibility of Uterine Transplantation", a set of proposed criteria required for a woman to be ethically considered a candidate for uterine transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Infertility, Female / surgery*
  • Models, Animal
  • Pregnancy
  • Tissue Donors / ethics
  • Tissue Donors / psychology
  • Transplantation, Homologous / ethics*
  • Uterus / transplantation*