First baby born using uterus transplants from dead donor

Grant Boone
December 6, 2018

Importantly, in the Lancet case study, the uterus had an interval of eight hours before getting connected to the living body. When the researchers wrote the paper describing the case - about seven months after the birth - both mom and the baby girl were healthy.

The early embryos produced by IVF treatment had been frozen and stored four months before the transplant.

The 45-year-old donor died of a stroke.

With a living donor, the surgery can be scheduled when it's convenient for the surgeons, and there is time to do a thorough assessment of the donated organ to make sure it is suitable, she says.

The woman was given immunosuppressants to prevent rejection of the womb, while the team took biopsies of the cervix at regular intervals to check for signs of rejection.

It said the case involved connecting veins from the donor's uterus with the recipient's veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.

Flyckt and her colleagues in Cleveland have also performed two transplants from deceased donors. The pregnancy went smoothly and a baby girl was delivered by caesarean section at just over 35 weeks.

At age seven months and 12 days - when the manuscript reporting the findings was submitted for publication -the baby was breastfeeding and weighed 7.2 kilograms.

Mother and baby left the hospital three days later. He added: "The numbers of people willing and committed to donate organs upon their own deaths are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population".

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Besides women who lost uterus or do not have from birth, this kind of transplant could also someday open doors for people who are transgender, Ms Sharma suggested. Of the 10-15 per cent of couples with infertility problems, one in 500 women have uterine abnormalities. This affects approximately 3 to 5 per cent of women, Dr. Tullius said, including those born without a uterus or those who have had hysterectomies for cancer-related reasons.

Professor Lois Salamonsen, research group head of endometrial remodelling and Adjunct Professor at Monash University's Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology said she had received a few calls form Australian women over the years asking why uterine transplantation wasn't done in Australia.

She said just one of the consequences of a such a procedure is the potential rupturing of the uterus, which could have had catastrophic effects for the mother and the child.

"And it wouldn't be a cheap procedure ..."

In the first, the uterus had to be removed from the recipient after an infection occurred; Flyckt said she couldn't say where things stood with the second case other than that the recipient was doing well.

"But you can't underestimate the desperation some women feel when they can't have children".

Brazilian doctors said the first baby has been born to a woman with a uterus that was transplanted from a deceased donor, reports say.

But it was not a procedure Australian specialists were likely to offer any time soon.

The downside of this surgery was high doses of immunosuppression drugs and moderate, although manageable, levels of blood loss. Uterine transplantation began in other countries where there are legal or ethical barriers to surrogacy-getting someone else to carry the pregnancy-O'Neill says.

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