Uterine transplant - Hoping beyond Hope for Children

A uterine transplant can make it possible for women born without a healthy uterus to fulfill their dream of having genetic children. How far is medicine allowed to go, and where are the ethical and economic boundaries?

In 2019, the first two children in Germany were born who had gestated in a transplanted uterus. Around the world, 73 such transplants have been performed. Twenty-one children have been born thanks to this surgery. The procedure is controversial.

Girls with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, MRKH for short, are born with a rare malformation of the female reproductive organs. Their vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or are missing entirely. The ovaries, however, which produce eggs and sex hormones, are normal. Such women are therefore able to carry a genetic child to term if they receive a uterine transplant.

Prof. Sara Brucker is a gynecologist and the medical director of the Research Center for Women’s Health in Tübingen. With the aid of Swedish expert Prof. Mats Brännström of Gothenburg University Hospital, she performed the first uterine transplant in Germany in 2016. In Sweden, Brännström has already enabled the birth of eleven children by this method. One of the first is the five-year-old son of Lolita Carlerup, who recorded her long, difficult path to motherhood in her diary. Her sister, Linda Wästerlund, donated her uterus after giving birth to four children of her own.

Uterine transplants are ethically very controversial, as they do not serve to save the recipient’s life but rather only to fulfill a wish for a genetic child. In addition, they are the most complicated of all medically possible transplants – more complicated than a liver or heart transplant, according to Brännström. WISSEN HOCH 2 examines the ethical, financial, and medical questions related to the topic of uterine transplants.

  • Dietmar Klumpp
  • Dietmar Klumpp
  • Annette Scheurich
  • Mi-Yong Brehm
  • Moritz Mayerle
  • Katharina Finger
    Commissioning Editor (ZDF)
  • Nicole Schleider
    Commissioning Editor (ZDF)
  • Christina Karliczek
    Director of Photography
  • Jochen Sacher
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Extremer Kinderwunsch - Gebärmuttertransplantation
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Television
  • Runtime:
    44 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 19, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Sweden
  • Language:
    English, German, Swedish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Scinema International Science Film Festival 2021
    June 1, 2021
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Dietmar Klumpp

Dietmar Klumpp is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, specialized in political and foreign affairs and sciences. He has created reports, features and documentaries about Iran, China, Dubai, South Africa and the Vatican. He won the prestigious Bavarian TV Award for his political documentary on Congo and his film about the German Bundestag was nominated for the German TV Awards. His investigative documentary about the favelas of Rio de Janeiro is based on his academic work in Brazil for his PHD in political sciences. 2017 he was part of the Documentary Campus Masterschool with a project on vinyl records. Today he is based in Heidelberg/Germany as independent filmmaker.

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Director Statement

The topic immediately grabbed me - I knew I had to make a film about it when my mother-in-law (she is a gynecologist) told me about this new transplant. I researched the topic for more than 4 years and was able to follow how this procedure became established in Germany and other countries around the world. I wanted to know what drives Lolita and the other women to take the risk of a uterine transplant.