World's first baby born using transplanted uterus from deceased donor

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A Brazilian baby will celebrate her first birthday later this month, less than two years after her mother-unable to carry a pregnancy because she lacked a uterus-underwent a transplant from a deceased donor.

The recipient was a 32-year-old woman born without a uterus due to a congenital condition. "The numbers of people willing to donate organs upon their own deaths are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population".

The first successful childbirth following uterine transplant from a living donor took place in 2013 in Sweden, and there have been 10 others since then.

These are still early days for uterine transplants, says Kate O'Neill, co-lead investigator for the University of Pennsylvania's uterus transplant program, who was not part of the work in Brazil.

In this study, recently deceased women who had given consent for organ transplant were screened based on previous ability to give birth, blood type, and a lack of any history of sexual disease. 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.

Five months after the transplant, the implanted womb appeared to have been successfully incorporated into her body.

After the transplant, the woman began a regimen of immunosuppressant medication to ensure she would not reject the donor organ.

In this trial, the mother was given standard doses of immune suppression medications for nearly six months, with positive results, before implantation of the embryo was completed. Lavery said that, at least theoretically, the procedure could be used to allow trans women to carry a baby.

Pregnancy was confirmed 10 days after implantation, said the medical team.

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Once the baby was delivered, the team removed the womb in the same operation.

Hospital staff pictured with the healthy baby. At the time of writing the study, the baby was 7 months old and growing normally.

The downside of this surgery was high doses of immunosuppression drugs and moderate, although manageable, levels of blood loss.

Future recipients undergoing similar transplants would have to be fit and healthy to avoid complications, they said.

Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for almost eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is.

"One will never be able to find whether the dead woman has had any infections in the uterus, nor in the vaginal canals and whether it is treatable or not", Ms Rao told IANS.

He said: "All in all, the research to be done in this field (whether from alive or deceased donors) should maximise the live birth rate, minimise the risks for the patients involved in the procedures (donor, recipient, and unborn child), and increase the availability of organs". The mother is the first in the world to give birth after such a transplant, a feat doctors were not sure would ever be possible.

Richard Kennedy, president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), said: "The IFFS welcomes this announcement which is an anticipated evolution from live donors with clear advantages and the prospect of increasing supply for women with hitherto untreatable infertility".

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