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4 women with new wombs get embryos

LONDON — Four women who received transplanted wombs have had embryos transferred into them in an attempt to get pregnant, a Swedish doctor said.

He would not say on Monday whether any of the women had succeeded. In all, nine women in Sweden have received new wombs since 2012, but two had to have them removed due to complications.

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The women received wombs donated by their mothers or other close relatives in an experimental procedure designed to test whether it’s possible to transfer a uterus so a woman can give birth to her own biological child. The women had in vitro fertilization before the transplants, using their own eggs to make embryos.

‘‘We have already begun transferring embryos into four of the women and plan to make attempts with the others when they are ready,’’ said Dr. Mats Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Goteburg and a leader of the research.

Brannstrom predicted that three or four of the seven women might successfully give birth.

‘‘One or two more will perhaps get pregnant and miscarry, and one or two won’t be able to get pregnant,’’ he said.

There have been two previous attempts to transplant a womb — in Turkey and Saudi Arabia — but both failed to produce babies. Doctors in Britain and Hungary also are planning similar operations, but using wombs from women who had just died.

Brannstrom said any woman in the study who does get pregnant will be on a low dose of drugs to keep from rejecting the transplanted womb and will be monitored as a high-risk pregnancy.

The transplants are intended to benefit women unable to have children because they lost a uterus to cancer or were born without one.

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