1st baby born using uterus transplanted from deceased donor

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

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

There have been several successful pregnancies using uterus transplants from live donors, since the procedure was pioneered by Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom about five years ago.

Uterine factor infertility is infertility in women born without a uterus; loss of the organ due to hysterectomy, cancer or postpartum haemorrhage; or a congenital defect, such as the rare Mayer-Rokitankshy-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which was the reason for the Brazilian woman's infertility. The donor was 45-years-old and had borne three children in her lifetime before dying of a stroke.

The baby was delivered by way of a cesarean section on December 15, 2017 at around 36 weeks into the pregnancy. Deceased donor uterus transplants have been attempted in the past few years, but none resulted in the birth of a healthy baby.

Part of the challenge in transplanting a uterus from a deceased donor is that the process - obtaining an organ, matching it to a recipient based on blood type and other qualities, and completing the operation - can take time.

The recipient tolerated the transplant relatively well thanks to immunosuppression drugs, other treatments and constant monitoring.

News of the procedure was disclosed in The Lancet medical journal.

Scientists have so far reported some 39 uterus transplants, which have resulted in 11 live births.

The recipient had her first menstruation 37 days after the uterus transplant, and continued to have regular cycles after that.

Her uterus was removed and transplanted in surgery that lasted more than 10 hours. The woman, 32, was initially scared of the procedure, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, who is the transplant team's lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, as AP reported.

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Stuart Lavery, a consultant gynaecologist at Hammersmith hospital who was not involved in the latest study, said the birth was "quite a significant step", noting that using wombs from deceased donors improves safety.

Ultrasound scans showed no abnormalities and she was menstruating regularly.

Four months before the transplant, she had in vitro fertilisation resulting in eight fertilised eggs, which were preserved through freezing.

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

The current norm for receiving a womb transplant is that the organ would come from a live family member willing to donate it.

"We must congratulate the authors", commented Dr Srdjan Saso, an honorary clinical lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at Imperial College London, describing the findings as "extremely exciting".

"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", he added.

Although uterus transplants are a growing area of medicine, they remain highly experimental and are very hard surgeries to complete.

Richard Kennedy, president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), said: "The IFFS welcomes this announcement which is an anticipated evolution from live donors with clear advantages and the prospect of increasing supply for women with hitherto untreatable infertility".

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