Medicine

Ever baby born from a uterus transplanted after death

Ever baby born from a uterus transplanted after death

The world's first baby born by a uterus transplant from a deceased donor is healthy and nearing her first birthday, according to a new case study published Tuesday in the Lancet.

The recipient in the groundbreaking case was a 32-year-old woman born without a womb due to a rare genetic disorder.

The researchers say that transplants from deceased donors might have some benefits over donations from live donors, including removing surgical risks for a live donor, and that many countries already have well-established national systems to regulate and distribute organ donations from deceased donors.

In September 2016 she was given an unexpected chance of motherhood after undergoing the transplant at the Hospital das Clinicas in Sao Paulo.

The study is also the first uterine transplantation in Latin America.

In a 10-hour operation, surgeons linked the donor's uterus to the woman's arteries, veins, ligaments and vaginal canal.

"She couldn't keep the uterus in another pregnancy", said Dr. Wellington Andraus, who worked on her transplant team.

With this recent success comes not just the promise of greater access to donor organs, but vital information on what a transplanted uterus requires to successfully carry an embryo to full term.

The news opens the door for patients who are normally unable to bear children - after hysterectomies, or because they suffer from diseases like cancer - to receive a uterus transplant and carry their own child.

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Since live uterus donors are a limitation, the report shows that uterus transplants from deceased donors are feasible and may open access for all women with uterine problems, without the need for live donors, as is the practice now. 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). Ten days later, doctors delivered the good news: she was pregnant.

The baby was delivered via a Caesarean section at 35 weeks and three days.

This breakthrough gives new hope to women with uterine factor infertility who can not conceive. Until now, the only successful uterus transplants have involved living donors who are typically family members of the recipients.

They say that 10 other uterus transplants from deceased donors were performed in the U.S., Turkey and Czech Republic, but none of them resulted in live births. After seven months, fertilised eggs were implanted, the BBC reported.

"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 said.

Mother and baby left the hospital three days later. Of this group, around one in 500 women have uterine problems. Upon encountering a suitable candidate and donor, doctors must act quickly to remove the uterus and transport it to the patient.

At the age of seven months, the baby continued to breastfeed and weighed 15lbs and 14oz (7.2 kilos).

"Uterine transplantation can help many couples in achieving their dream of parenthood", he said, and "using a uterus from a deceased organ donor increases the number of donors available significantly".

Before womb transplants became a viable possibility their only options for having a child were adoption or surrogacy.


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