NINE women have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the Swedish pioneering project has revealed.

The women were born without a uterus or had it removed because of cervical cancer. Most are in their 30s and are part of the first major experiment to test whether it is possible to transplant wombs into women so they can give birth to their own children.

Doctors are increasingly transplanting hands, faces and other body parts to improve patients' quality of life but womb transplants - the first ones intended to be temporary, to allow childbearing - push that frontier further and raise some new concerns.

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Dr Mats Brannstrom, chairman of obstetrics and gynaecology at Gothenburg University, said: "This is a new kind of surgery. We have no textbook to look at."