September 23, 2012

What Did The Swedish Doctors Say To The American Ones?

RedOrbit reported earlier this week about the first mother-to-daughter uterus transplant for two different women, one who had her uterus removed and one born without a uterus. Both donating mothers were in their 50s while both recipient daughters in their 30s. The Swedish doctors who performed the surgery still haven’t called it successful, but they did report no complications. Success comes when both 30-year-old females have given birth to healthy babies.

When I read this story, I was thrilled for this advancement. In a time in America when women are under such attack for reproductive rights, to know that some doctors are performing surgeries like this one is just incredible. The two women who received the uteri now have the possible opportunity to birth children of their own, an action that just last week would have been impossible. Yes, they could have adopted. Yes, they could have employed a surrogate. But now, because of this groundbreaking surgery, these women have the opportunity to experience pregnancy and childbirth for themselves. This is a miracle…a medical miracle.

For some, the thoughts of pregnancy and childbirth are not appealing, but for two women who just a week ago did not have even the option, the appeal must have been overwhelming. To not be able to do something that they so desperately wanted must have been devastating. Then the medical field came to the rescue. These Swedish doctors gave reproductive capabilities to two women. What an inspiring experience!

What’s even more inspirational, NPR further reported that doctors in America are not far behind the Swedish doctors. In Indiana, a group of doctors is currently looking for women willing to undergo the womb transplants. Again, my heart soared. In America, where women’s reproductive rights have been battered and bruised in recent months, we still have hope. Women still have hope that some day they will be respected enough to make reproductive choices without influence from the outside. This makes me proud.

Though both reports explain that the surgeries are not completely successful just yet, the facts that the surgeries took place, the studies are being performed here in America, and worldwide people are looking into the possibilities of uterus transplant are all worth celebrating. Perhaps we should not feel too excited just yet because the surgeries are still in their infancies, but we should at least praise the fact that the surgeries are happening in the first place.

As a youngish woman who finds the hypocrisy of gender appalling, I couldn’t be happier about these studies. To allow women to seek out their reproductive options is a step forward especially in a time when these options are under such attack and scrutiny. Women should seek information about their health, including reproductive health. They should not be shunned or attacked for doing so. They should not be told that their options are limited. They should be supported and encouraged. These surgeries, no matter their outcomes, do just that—support and encourage women’s reproductive rights. For that, all who are studying uterus transplants should be congratulated. So, to you—Swedish doctors who completed the recent surgeries, American doctors currently researching uterus transplants, and doctors worldwide supporting this option—I say thank you.

And to the two women currently in recovery in Sweden, may you see the success you hope for.

Image Credit: vrender / Shutterstock

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email


Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

Send Rayshell an email