The Ethics of Allocating Uterine Transplants

Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2016 Jul;25(3):350-65. doi: 10.1017/S0963180115000687. Epub 2016 Feb 11.


In September 2014, a healthy male child was born in Sweden following a successful uterine transplantation (UTx). The event brought hope to many women without functional uteruses around the world. Having a child with a transplanted uterus is now possible, and as knowledge of the procedure proliferates and interest in UTx grows, it is important to begin thinking about how a scarce supply of uteruses will be allocated. This article represents a first discussion of the range of factors that must be considered in answering the allocation question. The primary issues addressed are (1) the motivation to seek treatment, (2) allocation by age, (3) child-rearing capacity, and (4) the amount of infertility treatment required. A set of eligibility and ranking criteria are presented. These criteria are not exhaustive but are intended to spark discussion about how uteruses can be allocated in a just manner.

Keywords: age; allocation; child-rearing capacity; eligibility; infertility; motivation; scarce supply; uterine transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Organ Transplantation / ethics
  • Patient Selection / ethics*
  • Uterus / transplantation*