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UK to carry out womb transplants trial after success of procedure in SwedenGetty

Doctors in the UK have been given approval to carry out 10 womb transplants following the success of the procedure in Sweden.

The BBC reports that ethical approval had been given for the transplants, as part of a clinical trial, which will commence in the spring. If the clinical trial is successful, the first UK baby from a womb transplant could be born in late 2017 or early 2018.

So far, more than 100 women have been identified as potential recipients of donor wombs. Around one in 5,000 women are born without a womb, while others lose their womb to cancer.

Women who will eligible for the trial must be 38 years old or under, have a long-term partner and have a healthy weight. More than 300 women have approached the Womb Transplant UK team. A third or 104 meet the criteria set.

Dr Richard Smith, a consultant gynaecologist at the Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London who has been working on the project for 19 years will lead the UK's transplant team.

He said the technique offers hope to those whose only option is surrogacy or adoption. "I've met many of the women who want this and it's really important for them and their partners. There is no doubting that, for many couples, childlessness is a disaster.

"Infertility is a difficult thing to treat for these women. Surrogacy is an option but it does not answer the deep desire that women have to carry their own baby," he said.

In October last year, a 36-year-old woman in Sweden became the first person in the world to give birth to a baby boy after having a womb transplant. The woman was born without a uterus. Her womb was donated by a family friend.

Doctors in Sweden successfully performed nine womb transplants. Although womb transplants have been carried out successfully in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, neither produced children.