First baby born using uterus transplant from dead donor, doctors say

Desiree Burns
December 7, 2018

In a medical first, a mother who received a uterus transplant from a dead donor gave birth to a healthy baby, researchers reported Wednesday.

He said any doubts he had about the potential importance of uterus transplants were erased after meeting the mother of the first baby born after a live donor uterus transplant. The organ was transplanted into a 32-year-old woman who had a disorder that left her without a uterus.

The woman became pregnant through in vitro fertilization seven months after the transplant.

And, after a normal pregnancy, a 2.5 kilogram baby was delivered by Caesarean section on 15 December 2017.

"The first uterus transplants from live donors were a medical milestone, creating the possibility of childbirth for many infertile women".

11 other births have resulted from living donors, including women who donated their uteruses to their daughters.

The Journal cites 10 previous cases of failed uterus transplants from deceased donors, in the U.S., the Czech Republic and Turkey.

"They should promote education and guidance so that the groups performing uterus transplantation for the first time can benefit from the experience of the pioneers".

In a surgery lasting 10.5 hours, the uterus was removed from the donor and transplanted into the recipient, where it was connected to the recipient's veins and arteries as well as her ligaments and vaginal canals.

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The one added hitch was that doctors removed the transplanted uterus following her c-section, which allowed her to stop taking the anti-rejection medication.

But out of the 10 womb transplants from deceased donors, none of the procedures has resulted in a birth - until now.

To prevent her body from rejecting the new organ, the woman was given five different drugs, along with antimicrobials, anti-blood clotting treatments, and aspirin.

Uterus transplantation is a relatively new area of medicine.

The researchers in Brazil reported that the uterus was ischemic - meaning, off a blood supply - for nearly eight hours, essentially double the reported time from any of the living donor transplants.

The Brazilian doctors are confident this successful attempt will give more options for uterus transplants in the future, having already planned two more transplants as a part of their study. With live donors often in short supply, it's hoped this bold breakthrough from Brazil could offer hope to the 1 in 500 people who experience infertility problems from uterine anomalies. The mother and child managed to leave the hospital just three days after the birth, with a gloriously uneventful following few months. Fifteen were fertilised, with 8 resulting in embryos that were subsequently preserved for later implantation.

Eleven previous births have used a transplanted uterus, but they were from a living-not a deceased-woman, who was usually a relative or a friend, according to The Associated Press.

Doctors said in the study that the woman felt "fulfilled" by the chance to carry and deliver her own daughter in spite of her condition. The only complication during pregnancy was a kidney infection, which was treated with antibiotics.

At seven months and 20 days - when the case study report was submitted to The Lancet - the baby girl was continuing to breastfeed and weighed 7.2 kg (16 lb).

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