By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Penn Medicine announced this week that it will perform uterine transplants as part of a multi-year clinical trial.

It’s aimed at offering women who lack or have a damaged womb a chance to bear children.

“Infertility in general has a lot of great treatments with in vitro fertilization, but women with Uterine Factor Infertility don’t have any effective treatment,” said Co-investigator Dr. Kate O’Neill said.

She says if they can successfully perform uterine transplants from deceased donors, the study moves into the second phase.

“In that phase of the trial, we are performing embryo transfers in these individuals with stable uterine transplants,” she explained.

To allow the recipient to stop drugs that block rejection, the uterus is essentially on loan.

“Once they’ve completed their childbearing, we actually remove the uterus,” said O’Neill.

Participants will then be followed for 5 to 10 years. It’s a big undertaking.

“Just having the option available, I think, changes lives,” O’Neill said.

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