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05 December 2018, 10:55 | Silvia Roy
First baby born via uterus transplanted from dead donor
This successful case may offer women with uterine infertility a greater chance to carry and give birth to a baby without the risk of major surgery for live donors, the Lancet case study authors at the University of Sao Paulo Faculty of Medicine Clinics Hospital wrote.
The patient was a 32-year-old woman with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes the vagina or uterus to either under-develop or not develop at all. She received the uterus during a 10.5-hour surgery in September 2016 from a 45-year-old donor who had died of a stroke.
On 15 December 2017, a baby girl weighing 2,550 grams (5.6 pounds) was delivered through Caesarean section. Deceased donor uterus transplants have been attempted in the past few years, but none resulted in the birth of a healthy baby.
There have been 10 uterus transplants from deceased donors attempted in the U.S., the Czech Republic, and Turkey, but this is the first one which resulted in a live birth.
The recipient tolerated the transplant relatively well thanks to immunosuppression drugs, other treatments and constant monitoring.
Researchers say the case study, published Tuesday in The Lancet, shows that such transplants from deceased donors are feasible and may increase options for women struggling with uterine infertility.
While researchers in countries including Sweden and the USA have previously succeeded in transplanting wombs from living donors into women who have gone on to give birth, experts said the latest development was a significant advance. Previous live donor transplantation have waited at least a year before attempting a pregnancy.
Dr Dani Ejzenberg, from Hospital das Clínicas in Sao Paolo, said: "The first uterus transplants from live donors were a medical milestone, creating the possibility of childbirth for many infertile women with access to suitable donors and the needed medical facilities".
"When a transplant is dome from a live donor, there is a greater responsibility towards both the donor and recipient, but in a dead body the doctors can be a bit relaxed", Ms Sharma said.
"The number of people willing and committed to donate organs upon their own death are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population", he said in a statement. Seven months after the surgery, an embryo was implanted and her pregnancy was confirmed. But they said that relying on deceased donors could expand the options for women who do not have a friend or family member willing to donate or that would be a good match.
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Two months later eight fertilised eggs were implanted into the womb. Surgeons also performed a hysterectomy - they removed the uterus - during the C-section.
At the age of seven months and 20 days, when the case report was written, the baby was breastfeeding and weighed 7.2kg (15lbs 14oz).
Dr. Srdjan Saso of Imperial College London told the broadcaster that the results were "extremely exciting".
"Uterine transplant is a novel technique and should be regarded as experimental", he said.
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