Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

World's First Baby Born via Womb Transplant from Dead Donor

World's First Baby Born via Womb Transplant from Dead Donor

A Brazilian woman was the first to give birth after receiving a womb transplant from a deceased donor, Reuters reported.

The mother was a 32-year-old woman with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome - a condition that causes female sexual reproductive organs, such as the uterus and vagina, to be underdeveloped or absent at birth.

The donor was a 45-year-old woman who died of subarachnoid haemorrhage - a type of stroke involving bleeding on the surface of the brain.

The miracle baby girl was born in Brazil via caesarean section at 35 weeks and three days, weighing around 6lbs. When the researchers wrote the paper describing the case - about seven months after the birth - both mom and the baby girl were healthy.

Ten previous attempts using deceased donors in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the USA have failed.

The team said the success meant that women for whom surrogacy or adoption was previously the only option for starting a family might soon have another path they could choose.

News of the procedure was disclosed in The Lancet medical journal.

Few but successful births have taken place using donor uteruses from live patients in Sweden and the United States, with 39 transplants and 11 births.

Five months before the transplant, the recipient had sixteen eggs from her own functional ovaries removed.

In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, in OH, transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed after an infection developed.

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"With a deceased donor, you reduce the risk because you don't have the risk to the donor - and you reduce the costs, too, because you don't have the hospitalisation and the very long surgery of the donor", said Dr Dani Ejzenberg of the University of São Paulo, who led the research.

In a transplant surgery that lasted more than ten hours, doctors had to connect the donor's uterus with the veins, arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canal of the recipient.

She added, however, that the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared, and said the technique could still be refined and optimised.

The baby is the first to be delivered from a donated uterus from a dead donor.

"The pregnancy in the first attempt, with the transfer of only one embryo, surprised us, but we were confident of achieving gestation due to the quality of the staff of our human reproduction center that has worked for 15 years with good results", Ejzenberg says.

Five months after the surgery, the medical team observed no signs of rejection, noting that ultrasound scans were normal and the recipient experienced regular menstruation.

Hospital staff pictured with the healthy baby.

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).

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".

Those possibilities, paired with improved surgical practices, means uterus transplantation could someday become a standard procedure, Ejzenberg says.

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