A woman who was transplanted with a deceased donor's womb has given birth to a baby girl, researchers in Brazil say. The 32-year-old woman was born without a uterus due to Mayer-Rokitansky-Hauser syndrome. In this case, a cesarean section was performed for birth at 35 weeks gestation, and along with the delivery of an nearly 6 pound healthy baby girl, the uterus was also removed.
According to researchers, neither the mother nor the child have experienced complications or abnormalities.
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.
The Journal cites 10 previous cases of failed uterus transplants from deceased donors, in the U.S., the Czech Republic and Turkey.
Brazilian doctors are now planning more transplants following the procedure.
The baby was delivered by Caesarean section on 15 December 2017.
The first successful live uterus transplant took place in Sweden, in 2014, prompting a rise in uterus transplant programs across the world, wrote the authors of the case study.
Ejzenberg stressed that it's rare that living women are willing and eligible to donate a uterus to a family member or close friend.
"With a deceased donor, you reduce the risk because you don't have the risk to the donor - and you reduce the costs, too, because you don't have the hospitalisation and the very long surgery of the donor", said Dr Dani Ejzenberg of the University of São Paulo, who led the research.
"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant", said Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal. Immunosuppression was continued outside of hospital until the birth.
"Uterine transplant is a novel technique and should be regarded as experimental", he said.
The use of a deceased donor is a significant achievement that could greatly increase access to the procedure, said Stefan Tullius, chief of transplant surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has participated in living donor uterus transplant surgery. This affects approximately 3 to 5 per cent of women, Dr. Tullius said, including those born without a uterus or those who have had hysterectomies for cancer-related reasons.
The 6-pound baby girl was delivered by C-section to an unidentified young woman who had been born without a uterus. Seven months after the transplant, the woman's fertilized eggs were implanted into the uterus, resulting in pregnancy. In the same procedure as the live birth, the uterine was removed to curb any chance of issues with rejection.
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.
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.
She added that the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared. Upon encountering a suitable candidate and donor, doctors must act quickly to remove the uterus and transport it to the patient. "There is the potential for uterus transplantation becoming mainstream". Previously, uterus transplants from a live woman were the only option, but donors are in short supply. Of this group, one in 500 women has uterine anomalies.
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