The recent story of the failed uterine transplant had a decidedly American flavor. Let me explain.
In Sweden there have been 9 successful uterine transplants. The first recipient delivered a healthy baby boy, by cesarean section, in September 2014. Three more babies have been born since then. Not one of the families have been identified publicly. In Sweden the surgery and blessed event are personal, no media splash.
Not so here in the states. A 26 year old woman named Lindsey, last name not provided, underwent the uterine transplant at Cleveland Clinic on February 24, 2016. On March 7 she was literally, rolled out, for the TV cameras to celebrate the surgery. Sadly, a day later the transplant failed due to some, as of this writing, undisclosed complication. Within 24 hours Lindsey went from the bright lights to the darkness of despair when her hope for carrying a baby was dashed.
But in the American way every accomplishment is displayed for the public, playing out like a made for TV movie or any other reality program. I’m sure Lindsey had to sign a stack of papers to have the surgery attesting to her understanding of the risks. Her informed consent was probably scrutinized line by line by the IRB. But was her appearance for the media part of that? And if so, did anyone take the time to help her understand the ramifications of sharing this part of her life? Sure, she chose not to share her last name. Laughable, frankly. Did she really think that by not sharing her full name her privacy would be protected despite having her face, clear as a bell, appear on 50 inch, HD television screens across the country?
The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.