For the first time, a woman who received a uterus from a deceased donor has successfully given birth-an important milestone for the young field of uterus transplantation, STAT reports. The recipient was a 32-year-old woman with a condition that meant she was born without a womb, although she had ovaries - meaning that eggs could be collected and used in IVF.
The first womb transplant baby was born in Sweden in 2013, using her grandmother's uterus, and since then there have been 10 other births globally. Seven months after the transplant, the woman's fertilized eggs were implanted into the uterus, resulting in pregnancy. The baby girl was born via caesarean section on December 15, 2017, at 35 weeks of gestation.
The baby's birth suggests that more women who suffer from uterine infertility - including those who have undergone hysterectomies for reasons ranging from cancer to endometriosis - may be able to take advantage of the procedure moving forward, says paper co-author Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, who oversaw the case and is a medical faculty member in the division of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of São Paulo.
In total, there have been 39 procedures of this kind, resulting in 11 live births so far. Though there have been 10 uterus transplants from deceased donors in the United States, the Czech Republic and in Turkey, this is the first to result in a child.
However, he cautioned: "Uterine transplantation is a novel technique and should be regarded as experimental".
The surgical team had to connect the donor's uterus with the veins, arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canal of the recipient. The transplanted uterus was removed during the cesarean delivery and showed no anomalies.
"The Brazilian group has proven that using deceased donors is a viable option", said the clinic's Dr. Tommaso Falcone, who was involved in the OH case.
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.
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Besides saving the life of patients with failed vital organs, scientists have also conducted hand or face transplants in recent years to improve a person's quality of life.
Women who have irreversible infertility are the primary candidates to receive a transplant.
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.
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"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", said Dr Ejzenberg in a statement about the procedure.
Five months after transplantation, the uterus showed no signs of rejection, and the recipient started having periods.
Besides a minor kidney infection - treated with antibiotics - during the 32nd week, the pregnancy was normal. Previously, with live donors, doctors have waited at least a year following the transplant to begin trying for a pregnancy.
At the age of seven months, the baby continued to breastfeed and weighed 15lbs and 14oz (7.2 kilos).