World’s first baby born via uterus transplant from deceased donor

Close-up of newborn baby's feet as it lies on a bed

The world's first baby has been born using a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor, according to Brazilian doctors.

The Lancet reports that the mother had Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, a condition that causes the uterus and vagina to not develop properly. The donor was a 45-year-old woman who had three children and died of a stroke.

The 10-hour transplant operation - and later fertility treatment - took place in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2016.

The 32-year-old psychologist mom, who was not identified, became pregnant through IVF seven months after the transplant and gave birth to a healthy baby via cesarean section.

While babies born from live donor uterus transplants have been done almost a dozen times before, including once in 2017 at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Dallas, this birth marks the first time doctors have been able to remove the uterus from a recently deceased donor and have it result in a live birth.

Uterus donations right now are only available to women who have family members that can donate to them.

Eleven children have been born following uterine transplantation from living donors, the first of which occurred in Sweden in September 2013.

11 other births have resulted from living donors, including women who donated their uteruses to their daughters.

The birth shows that pregnancies involving a uterus from a deceased donor are viable, said study leader Dr. Dani Ejzenberg. Previously, with live donors, doctors have waited at least a year following the transplant to begin trying for a pregnancy.

It's still early days, but so far, there are no complaints.

"It enables use of a much wider potential donor population, applies lower costs and avoids live donors' surgical risks", Saso stated.

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It said the case involved connecting veins from the donor's uterus with the recipient's veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.

She added that the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared.

"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant, ' said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal".

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.

After the birth both patient and baby appeared healthy and well. Two more women in his program are awaiting suitable donors.

In a commentary published with the Lancet case study, two researchers suggest that as more successful uterus transplant surgeries are performed, it may be possible to expand the eligibility criteria. With live donors often in short supply, it's hoped this bold breakthrough from Brazil could offer hope to the 1 in 500 people who experience infertility problems from uterine anomalies.

As with other organ recipients, the patient in this case was put on immune suppression drugs to reduce the chances of her body rejecting the transplant.

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.

But the 10 previous transplants from a dead donor have failed or resulted in miscarriage. "There is the potential for uterus transplantation becoming mainstream".

It was also the first uterine transplantation in Latin America.

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