Women's Mental Health
Uterus transplant offers the option of gestational motherhood to persons with uterine factor infertility (which affects ~3% of infertile women). In November 2017, the United States saw the first successful human live birth from uterine transplant, adding to a small, but growing number of live births from living uterus donors. In December 2017, the world’s first successful human live birth from a deceased uterine donor occurred in Brazil. As uterine transplant becomes more technically refined, it is imperative for clinicians, and especially psychiatrists, to be able to frame this technology within a context of both reproductive ethics as well as psychosocial, religious, and legal arguments. This is especially true in the United States, where reproductive health topics have become highly politicized, often drowning out clinical voices. In this symposium, we will first present an overview of current uterine transplant protocol, with special attention to donor and recipient psychological assessment. Second, we will compare/ contrast psychological/ psychiatric considerations of uterine factor infertility patients with other infertile couples as well as individuals seeking a solid organ or composite tissue allograft (i.e., face, hand, penis) transplant. Third, we will frame uterine transplant within the current regulatory landscape regarding assisted reproductive technologies. Lastly, we will explore current and future ethical problems arising from balancing the moral value of the fetus with the mental health of individuals/ couples as well as making value-judgments concerning uterine transplant by weighing principles of reproductive autonomy with those of distributive justice. Through this presentation, we seek to inform physicians who encounter persons with uterine factor infertility, allowing them to develop better biopsychosocial formulations of these persons and advocate for them within a clear ethical framework.
There is an exigent need for the ethics of uterine transplant to keep pace with technical advances in this niche of transplant medicine. This symposium will focus on educating the clinician regarding relevant psychological considerations in patients with uterine factor infertility as well as provide psychiatrists with an ethical scaffolding within which they assess and treat these patients.