National / Science & Health

Japan medical panel starts talks on uterus transplants

JIJI

The Japanese Association of Medical Sciences (JAMS) has established a committee to discuss whether uterus transplants should be allowed in Japan, sources with knowledge of the matter have said.

The committee comprises 14 members, including executives of the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Japan Society for Transplantation as well as specialists in bioethics, the sources said Thursday.

Chaired by JAMS Vice President Masamitsu Iino, the committee held its first meeting on Wednesday.

The surgery in question is aimed at transplanting uteri into women without a womb so they can become pregnant and give birth.

The committee will examine the safety of uterus transplants for donors, patients and their babies. It will also discuss ethical issues, such as whether it would be permissible to impose such significant burdens on donors for surgeries that are not needed for the maintenance of life, the sources said.

Surrogate delivery is one other option for women without a womb to have a child. The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology currently bans the practice, but the committee plans to discuss the advisability of surrogate delivery.

Babies have been born through uterus transplants in some European countries and the United States.

In Japan, a Keio University team submitted a plan in November last year to the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology to carry out the country’s first clinical trial surgery to transplant wombs into women who do not have a uterus.

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