Mother Gives Birth Using Transplanted Uterus

Baby born after womb transplant from dead donor

The world's first baby born using a womb transplanted from a dead woman is a breakthrough in the field of obstetrics and a great advantage for women combating infertility, say Indian doctors.

There have been 10 other uterus transplants from deceased donors performed in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey, but this one in Brazil is the first to result in a live birth. But according to the authors, they are the first to have accomplished it with a uterus from a deceased donor (there was a documented attempt in 2011, but the pregnancy ended in miscarriage).

The first birth after a womb transplant from a living donor took place in Sweden in September 2013. There have so far been a total of 39 such procedures, resulting in 11 live births.

The Brazilian researchers are planning two more uterus transplants as part of the study. The donor was a 45-year-old woman who died of a stroke.

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).

A new technique might broaden the pool of available uterus donors and give more women the option to have a baby.

The report concludes that the results establish proof-of-concept for "treating uterine infertility by transplantation from a deceased donor, opening a path to a healthy pregnancy for all women with uterine factor infertility, without the need of living donors or live donor surgery".

The current need for live donors "is a major limitation as donors are rare, typically being willing and eligible family members or close friends", Dr Ejzenberg said. After the transplant, her period returned after 37 days.

Five months after the transplant, the implanted womb appeared to have been successfully incorporated into her body.

Following the successful transplant and five months of anti-rejection medication, the team confirmed that the woman was menstruating regularly.

Fifteen were fertilised, with 8 resulting in embryos that were subsequently preserved for later implantation.

Just seven months after the operation, doctors were able to begin in vitro fertilization, using the patient's own eggs harvested before her transplant surgery.

"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant, ' said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal".

In the case announced on Tuesday, the mother is a 32-year-old female who had congenital infertility. In this case, a cesarean section was performed for birth at 35 weeks gestation, and along with the delivery of an nearly 6 pound healthy baby girl, the uterus was also removed.

During the delivery, the transplanted womb was removed and showed no abnormalities. The baby weighed almost six pounds.

The downside of this surgery was high doses of immunosuppression drugs and moderate, although manageable, levels of blood loss.

One U.S. fertility expert said the success in this case really could be a breakthrough. Until then, the only ways to get a child for those with serious uterine problems were surrogacy or adoption.

"All in all, the research to be done in this field (whether from alive or deceased donors) should maximize the live birth rate, minimize the risks for the patients involved in the procedures (donor, recipient, and unborn child), and increase the availability of organs".

"The first uterus transplants from live donors were a medical milestone", added Dr Ejzenberg.

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