Uterus transplants: Legal and Ethical Issues

Congratulations to Bernard M. Dickens, Professor Emeritus of Health Law and Policy and Co-Director of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, who recently published the following article:

Bernard M. Dickens, “Legal and Ethical Issues of Uterus Transplantation,” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 133.1(2016): 125-128.

The clinically detailed report of a successful uterus transplantation and live birth in Sweden, in which a family friend donated her uterus, provides a basis for expanded practice. Family members and friends can serve as living donors without offending legal or ethical prohibitions of paid organ donation, even though family members and friends often engage in reciprocal gift exchanges. Donations from living unrelated sources are more problematic, and there is a need to monitor donors’ genuine altruism and motivation. Donation by deceased women – i.e. cadaveric donation – raises issues of uterus suitability for transplantation, and how death is diagnosed. Organs’ suitability for donation is often achieved by ventilation to maintain cardiac function for blood circulation, but laws and cultures could deem that a heartbeat indicates donors’ live status. Issues could arise concerning ownership and control of organs between recovery from donors and implantation into recipients, and on removal following childbirth, that require legal resolution.

Keywords: Altruistic uterus donation, Brain death, Cadaveric uterus donation, Ethics in uterus donation, Legality of uterus donation, Organ transplantation, Uterus donation.

The entire article is online here.

72 other IJGO articles on “Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Health” are online here.

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