Options for acquiring motherhood in absolute uterine factor infertility; adoption, surrogacy and uterine transplantation

Obstet Gynaecol. 2021 Apr;23(2):138-147. doi: 10.1111/tog.12729. Epub 2021 Mar 19.


Key content: Following the diagnosis of absolute uterine factor infertility (AUFI), women may experience considerable psychological harm as a result of a loss of reproductive function and the realisation of permanent and irreversible infertility.Adoption enables women with AUFI, and their partners, to experience social and legal parenthood, also often providing benefits for the adopted child.Surrogacy offers the opportunity to have genetically related offspring. Outcomes are generally positive in both surrogates and the children born as a result.Uterine transplantation is the only option to restore reproductive anatomy and functionality. While associated with considerable risk, it allows the experience of gestation and the achievement of biological, social and legal parenthood.

Learning objectives: To gain an understanding of the routes to parenthood available for women with AUFI experiencing involuntary childlessness, such as adoption, surrogacy and, most recently, uterine transplantationTo consider a suggested management plan to facilitate counselling in women with AUFI who experience involuntary childlessness.

Ethical issues: In the UK, while the number of children requiring adoption continues to increase, the number being adopted from care is decreasing.Some cultures may hold ethical or religious beliefs that surrogacy is unacceptable, and its legal position in many jurisdictions is problematic.Restrictive selection criteria and high costs may limit future availability of uterine transplantation.

Keywords: adoption; infertility; surrogacy; transplantation; uterus.

Publication types

  • Review