Medicine

World's first baby born using transplanted uterus from deceased donor

World's first baby born using transplanted uterus from deceased donor

The details of the first baby born following a uterus transplantation from a deceased donor were reported in a case study from Brazil, published in The Lancet.

The baby girl's mother was born without a uterus as a result of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome a rare disorder that affects a woman's reproductive system.

Experts say using uteruses from women who have died could make more transplants possible.

The womb transplant, lasting over 10 hours took place in Brazil's Sao Paolo in September 2016.

On 15 December 2017, a baby girl weighing 2,550 grams (5.6 pounds) was delivered through Caesarean section.

Dr Dani Ejzenberg, from Hospital das Clínicas in São Paulo, said: "The first uterus transplants from live donors were a medical milestone, creating the possibility of childbirth for many infertile women with access to suitable donors and the needed medical facilities". The live donors need to be family members of the woman and be willing to donate, as per the current practice.

She added, however, that the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared, and said the technique could still be refined and optimised. However, a woman who received a live uterine transplant gave birth to a baby boy in 2017, making it a first for the U.S. 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).

Uterine transplantation is a multi-step process that requires coordination among numerous physicians.

The surgery involved connecting the donor uterus' and recipient's veins and arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.

It detailed how five months after the transplant, the uterus showed no signs of rejection, ultrasound scans were normal, and the recipient was having regular menstruation.

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Doctors also removed the transplanted uterus during her C-section in order to take the mother off immunosuppressant medication required for maintaining a transplanted organ. The uterus was removed from recipient post that.

Unlike most transplantation surgeries "this is not a matter of life and death but more to satisfy a woman's desire to carry a child", Professor Salamonsen said. After the transplant, her period returned after 37 days.

At least a dozen children worldwide have been born to women with transplanted uteri donated by a living relative, but never one from a deceased donor.

Research has since continued, with informed volunteers still opting to go through the discomfort and potential trauma in the hopes of giving birth.

Later the doctors fertilised her eggs with the father-to-be's sperm and freezed them.

In this trial, the mother was given standard doses of immune suppression medications for nearly six months, with positive results, before implantation of the embryo was completed.

Ten days later, doctors delivered the good news: she was pregnant.

It's hard to say definitively whether this shorter wait time made a difference, but the courses of antirejection drugs and antibiotics potentially pose all sorts of complications for the body that just might sway the odds for a developing embryo.

Uterus transplants have become more common in recent years, resulting in 11 live births around the world.