World's first baby born via womb transplant from deceased donor

Grant Boone
December 7, 2018

While womb transplants from living donors have been successful, womb transplants from deceased donors still need to be researched, as none of the deceased donor transplants has until now resulted in conception and birth.

The medical team at the Hospital das Clinicas holding the first baby to be born following a uterus transplant from a deceased donor. Deceased donor uterus transplants have been attempted in the past few years, but none resulted in the birth of a healthy baby.

Besides women who lost uterus or do not have from birth, this kind of transplant could also some day open doors for people who are transgender, Sharma suggested. She has a disease called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome, commonly known as congenital uterine absence.

This woman had a single in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycle four months before the transplant took place, which resulted in eight fertilised eggs which were cryopreserved. The deceased uterus donor was a 45-year old woman who died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The child will in fact celebrate her first birthday in about two weeks. The organ was transplanted to the 32-year-old in a surgery that took 10 and a half hours.

As with other organ recipients, the patient in this case was put on immune suppression drugs to reduce the chances of her body rejecting the transplant.

The first living donor womb transplant was performed in Sweden in 2013.

The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth at 35 weeks and three days by cesarean section. She weighed 2.5 kilograms.

The baby girl was seven months and 20 days old, weighing 7.5kg when the researchers wrote their report.

"The use of deceased donors could greatly broaden access to this treatment, and our results provide proof-of-concept for a new option for women with uterine infertility", says Dr. Dani Ejzenberg.

He said live uterus donors are rare and typically eligible family members or close friends of women seeking the transplant. 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".

Baby born after womb transplant from dead donor

In this case, the recipient of the transplant was a patient who had uterine infertility.

An estimated one in 500 women have no wombs or abnormal wombs due to hysterectomies, inherited disease, malformation or infection.

However there are potential consequences to breakthroughs such as these, and not enough attention is being paid to the risks, professor Deborah Davis of the University of Canberra told 10 daily.

The researchers do point out that the outcomes and effects of donations from live and deceased donors haven't been compared yet. "The idea that somebody could give me that opportunity was unbelievable to me", she said.

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

However, he cautioned: "Uterine transplantation is a novel technique and should be regarded as experimental".

Moreover, the doctors said that while a transplanted kidney or liver stays for life, it is not the case with the uterus.

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

The authors pointed out that despite its success the procedure involved major surgery, high doses of immunosuppressants, and moderate levels of blood loss.

Brazilian doctors managed to succeed where 10 other medical teams had failed in previous attempts at the same procedure.

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