A 56-year-old businesswoman plans to donate her womb to her daughter in a procedure that, if successful, would make medical history.
The Telegraph reports that Eva Ottosson and her 25-year-old daughter, Sara, have undergone tests and are waiting to see whether they will have a chance to become the first to successfully undergo the complex operation. The procedure could take place as early as next spring in Sweden, where Sara currently lives.
Both mother and daughter brushed off questions about the implications of the operation: that Sara could conceive children in the same womb that she was carried in.
"My daughter and I are both very rational people and we both think, 'It's just a womb,' " said the older Ottosson.
Sara, a biology teacher, echoed those sentiments, saying: "It's just an organ like any other organ. But my mum did ask me about this. She said, 'Isn't it weird?' And my answer is no. I'm more worried that my mum is going to have a big operation."
As the Telegraph points out, this won't be the world's first attempted womb transplant. In 2000, a 46-year-old woman in Saudi Arabia donated her uterus to a younger woman who had lost hers to hemorrhage, but the womb had to be removed after 99 days.
Since then, doctors have advanced their understanding of the procedure, although the leader of the medical team still says it is among the world's most complicated operations.
"Technically [it is a lot] more difficult than transplanting a kidney, liver or heart. The difficulty with it is avoiding hemorrhage and making sure you have long enough blood vessels to connect the womb," said Dr. Mats Brannstrom. "You are also working deep down in the pelvis area and it is like working in a funnel."
Sara was born with Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser syndrome, which left her without a uterus and parts of her vagina. The syndrome affects roughly one in 5,000 people. She was unaware she had the condition until she entered puberty and did not begin menstruating.
The Telegraph reports that "Mrs. Ottosson said she hoped by talking about the operation it would help bring attention to an otherwise rarely publicized condition."