First Uterus Transplant in the United States Fails, Causing Additional Concern for Pro-Lifers

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 11, 2016   |   10:21AM   |   Washington, DC

Last fall, LifeNews reported about the Cleveland Clinic’s plans to begin offering the first uterus transplants in the U.S. However, this week, the clinic announced that its first attempt has failed.

USA Today reports the clinic transplanted a uterus into a 26-year-old woman on Feb. 24 but had to remove it as a result of a sudden, unspecified complication. The Cleveland Clinic announced the results of the surgery Wednesday.

“We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus,” the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement. 

The 26-year-old is the first of ten women who the Ohio medical group says will participate in its research study on uterus transplants, according to the report. The women either were born without a uterus or have problems with their uterus that cause infertility, the report states.

Lindsey also gave a statement to the media on Wednesday: “I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately, I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”

She and her husband have three adopted children, but they hoped that the uterine transplant would help them conceive a biological child, Fox 8 Cleveland reports. The young woman said when she was 16 doctors told her that she could never get pregnant, according to the report.

“From that moment on, I’ve prayed that God would allow me the opportunity to experience pregnancy,” Lindsey said.

Clinic physicians said they are trying to figure out the factors that contributed to Lindsey’s complications. They said they plan to continue the study.

The clinic previously said women will be screened for psychological disorders, relationship problems and coercion, as well as for their physical health. They said women also will be informed of the possible risks of the procedure.

In 2014, a Swedish woman made medical history when she gave birth to a child after receiving a womb transplant. Since then, three other Swedish women have given birth after receiving uterus transplants. All were born prematurely. LifeNews reported about the first birth in September 2014.

However, ethicists are conflicted about the nature of uterus transplants.



Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who is leading the project at the Cleveland Clinic, believes uterus transplants – as opposed to surrogacy — are a better option for infertile women.

“You create a class of people who rent their uterus, rent their body, for reproduction,” he said of surrogacy. “It has some gravity. It possibly exploits women.”

However, bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith says he is concerned about the implications of the transplant procedure.

Writing at, Smith said:

Uterus transplants are “consumerist” procedures–as distinguished from “medical”–performed at sometimes great expense to enable lifestyle choices or help make dreams come true. As such, I believe they should be looked at differently than the usual healthcare.

[Unlike a kidney or heart transplant], transplanting a uterus is wholly elective, obviously performed to allow a woman to gestate and give birth. In other words, she has a bodily dysfunction, but is not sick. Indeed, her physical health is put at peril from the procedure, whereas doing nothing will not endanger her life or hurt her health. And given that the child is delivered early, there could be some risk to the baby.