World's first baby born via womb transplant from dead donor


In a world first a woman in Brazil born without a uterus has given birth to a baby girl using a dead donor's womb. However, for 32-year-old recipient born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, it proved lucky.

He said any doubts he had about the potential importance of uterus transplants were erased after meeting the mother of the first baby born after a live donor uterus transplant.

The uterus was removed from the donor and then transplanted into the recipient in surgery lasting 10.5 hours. Until now, the only successful uterus transplants have involved living donors who are typically family members of the recipients.

The birth, in Brazil, is the first reported involving a deceased donor womb transplant. However, a woman who received a live uterine transplant gave birth to a baby boy in 2017, making it a first for the U.S.

The earlier 10 similar transplants from dead donors attempted in the US, Czech Republic and Turkey failed or resulted in miscarriage. "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.

The surgical team had to connect the donor's uterus with the veins, arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canal of the recipient.

The transplanted uterus was also removed during the cesarean section and showed no anomalies, the doctors noted.

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"This is a great alternative compared to live donor uterus transplants and therefore a really historic achievement", said Dr. Tullius, who is also a professor of surgery at Harvard University.

Six weeks after the uterine transplant, which was performed in 2016, the Brazilian woman started having periods again.

After five months, the uterus showed no sign of rejection, ultrasound scans were normal, and the woman was menstruating regularly. According to the authors of the case study, around one in 500 women have infertility associated with the womb.

IVF Australia medical director Associate Professor Peter Illingworth said using deceased donors avoided the need for women to undergo major surgery and the risk of complications in order to donate their uterus to their loved one. "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".

Both-mother and the baby were discharged three days after birth. Implantation of the eggs occurred seven months after the transplant, the researchers said.

Ten days later, doctors delivered the good news: she was pregnant. "With life donors in short supply, the new technique might help to increase availability and give more women the option of pregnancy", said reputed British medical journal Lancet. Doctors were able to remove eggs, fertilise them with the father-to-be's sperm and freeze them.

At seven months and 20 days - when the case study report was submitted to The Lancet - the baby girl was continuing to breastfeed and weighed 7.2 kg (16 lb).