World's first baby born from transplanted womb of dead donor

A medical team in São Paulo with a baby born via a uterine transplant.									Divulgação

A medical team in São Paulo with a baby born via a uterine transplant. Divulgação

It is not the first time a womb transplant from a dead donor has been tried, but none had resulted in a live birth until now.

It's still early days, but so far, there are no complaints. But donors are hard to find and the surgical procedure to remove. "It's proof-of-concept that a deceased donor is really a good model".

The uterus was donated by a 45-year-old deceased mother of three, who died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Her uterus was removed and transplanted into the 32-year-old during a complex surgery that lasted 10 and a half hours.

Four months prior to the transplant, the recipient woman had received in-vitro fertilization, which yielded eight viable embryos that were frozen.

Ten days after implantation, the recipient was confirmed to be pregnant. When the researchers wrote the paper describing the case - about seven months after the birth - both mom and the baby girl were healthy.

The Brazilian doctors are confident this successful attempt will give more options for uterus transplants in the future, having already planned two more transplants as a part of their study.

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

The transplanted uterus was removed during the caesarean section and showed no anomalies. Removal of the donor organ also allowed the woman to stop taking immunosuppressant medication.

"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.

The Cleveland program is continuing to use deceased donors.

A womb transplant is performed by removing the womb from the donor and transplanting it into the recipient by connecting the two major veins and a series of arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals, according to The Lancet.

Still, the advantage is that the surgery takes place only for a person.

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. It suggested that transplant teams looking for uteruses could broaden the geographic area in which they search for donors. The recipient tolerated the transplant relatively well thanks to immunosuppression drugs, other treatments and constant monitoring. "Infertility can have a devastating impact upon couples, particularly for women with absolute uterine factor infertility, for which there has been no effective treatment to date and - for some of these women, womb transplantation is the only way they can carry a pregnancy", stated Mr J Richard Smith, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Clinical Lead at Womb Transplant UK.

"There is always a potential risk for the one who gives the uterus".

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, things are a little more rushed and the timing might not be ideal, O'Neill notes, but surgeons can take more tissue from the vagina and blood vessel network than is possible with a living donor.

"This is a very important birth for the whole uterus transplant community", said Dr. Liza Johannesson, a uterus transplant surgeon at Baylor who previously worked with the Swedish research team.

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