Ethical Issues in Uterine Transplantation: Psychological Implications and Informed Consent

Transplant Proc. 2017 May;49(4):707-710. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2017.02.013.


Since 2000, 13 uterine transplantations (UTxs) have been performed in women with absolute uterine infertility factor (AUIF), from both living and deceased donors, in different transplantation centers worldwide. At present the birth of 4 children following UTx is documented by the literature, and a woman was having a second pregnancy in October 2015. Following these successes it is likely that the procedure will become part of normal healthcare practice, even though at the moment it is still experimental and, as such, requires careful attention. Because the emotional aspects that are tied to UTx may foster the "therapeutic misconception" of participants, which consists in an overestimation of the benefits and an underestimation of the risks, careful attention should be paid also to informed consent (IC), which must include the following: describing techniques, pointing out risks and possibility of failure, and informing about the treatments required after the intervention. Because the final aim of UTx is the birth of a healthy child, the IC document must include details not only of the transplantation itself, but also of the very particular pregnancy deriving from it, and the need to remove the uterus following delivery(ies) to avoid these risks. Here we suggest that the IC process includes counselling techniques, possibly involving the psychologist that is part of the transplantation team, to target the information and decision-making process to the specific situation of each couple.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / surgery
  • Informed Consent / ethics*
  • Informed Consent / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterus / transplantation*