Baby born after womb transplant from dead donor

06 December, 2018, 13:51 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • Doctors hold a baby girl born to a mother who received a uterus from a deceased donor in Brazil. A novel transplantation procedure may help more infertile women become pregnant

A 32-year-old mom born without a uterus became the first to successfully give birth to a healthy baby after receiving a transplant from a deceased donor two years ago. After almost 36 weeks a baby girl weighing 2.5 kilograms (about six pounds) was delivered via caesarean section. The woman's uterus was removed after she delivered.

The woman had been born with a rare genetic condition that left her without a uterus, known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, but she was otherwise healthy. And just seven months after the operation, doctors began in vitro fertilization, through which the woman's own fertilized eggs - which had been harvested prior to the transplant surgery - were transferred to her new uterus.

The uterus was taken from a 45-year-old donor who had died from a brain haemorrhage. The birth resulting from the case detailed in the Lancet, which took place at Brazil's Hospital das Clínicas last December, is both the first in the world to involve a uterus from a deceased woman, and the first from any uterus transplant in Latin America.

"Our results provide a proof-of-concept for a new option for women with uterine infertility", said Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at the teaching hospital of the University of Sao Paulo. "It enables use of a much wider potential donor population, applies lower costs and avoids live donors' surgical risks", he said.

"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. And unlike most organ transplants, a donated uterus can be safely removed after a successful pregnancy, allowing the woman to cease taking anti-rejection medication. In one case in 2011, doctors in Turkey attempted to use a dead donor's womb to carry through a pregnancy, but the expectant mother miscarried two years later, even though the graft appeared healthy.

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.

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The researchers in Brazil reported that the uterus was ischemic - meaning, off a blood supply - for nearly eight hours, essentially double the reported time from any of the living donor transplants. "Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy", he said.

Uterus transplantation was pioneered by Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom, who has delivered eight children from women who got wombs from family members or friends.

Six weeks after the uterine transplant, which was performed in 2016, the Brazilian woman started having periods again.

Surgeons spent 10.5 hours plumbing in the organ by connecting veins, arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals.

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. "There is the potential for uterus transplantation becoming mainstream".

In the end, they held off an additional month after tests suggested the lining of the donor uterus wasn't quite thick enough to support implantation. "It may give us a bigger supply of organs than we thought were possible".

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