Who is Eligible – Patients and Donors

The latest research tells us that one in every 5,000 females is born without a viable womb although most will have perfectly functioning ovaries and the ability of producing healthy eggs.

This means that there are around 15,000 women in the UK living with MRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome) who have no chance of bearing their own child. As explained elsewhere on this website, many of these women will have MRKH and some of these, not everyone, may be able to receive a suitable womb from a relative, a friend or a deceased donor.

There are many other women who have had their wombs removed following cancer, the presence of large fibroids or acute endometriosis and again, not all of these women will be able to undergo a transplant.

Only those people who qualify for NHS care, who live in the United Kingdom and are aged between 24 and 40 (or 42 if embryos are cryopreserved before the age of 38) can be considered as patients for our two programmes.

In recent years over 500 women have enquired about joining our programmes here in the UK and a small number have stored embryos and are now awaiting donors.

Worldwide there have been around 100 known womb transplants carried out since the first successful operations carried out in Sweden in 2014. All of the Swedish donors were live donors, not least because Sweden has a relatively small population and a smaller number of donor organs is available. Most wombs have been donated by live related donors.

Around 50 babies have been born worldwide following womb transplant operations.

While we have some patients who have relatives willing to donate their wombs, patients taking part in our larger programme are awaiting organs from compatible deceased donors.  UK Blood and Transplant is the NHS organisation co-ordinating the identification of potential donors who have expressed a prior wish to donate, or those whose next of kin have given their permission.