Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

First baby born via dead donor uterus hailed a 'medical milestone'

First baby born via dead donor uterus hailed a 'medical milestone'

Experts say using uteruses from women who have died could make more transplants possible. "This would increase the availability of the uterus as living donors are always in scarcity", Ranjana Sharma, Senior Consultant, (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told IANS.

A woman who was transplanted with a deceased donor's womb has given birth to a baby girl, researchers in Brazil say. Implantation of the eggs occurred seven months after the transplant, the researchers said.

Get live updates in Agriculture by subscribing to the new farmers TV SMS service. And unlike most organ transplants, a donated uterus can be safely removed after a successful pregnancy, allowing the woman to cease taking anti-rejection medication.

The U.S. had its first uterine transplant in 2016, but the recipient had to have it removed days later due to a fungal infection, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Previously, with live donors, doctors have waited at least a year following the transplant to begin trying for a pregnancy. In total, there have been 39 procedures of the kind, resulting in 11 live births so far.

Infertility affects up to 15 per cent of couples of reproductive age.

Before the advent of uterus transplants, the only available options to have a child were adoption or surrogacy.

"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".

"The numbers of people willing and committed to donate organs upon their own deaths are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population", said Dr Ejzenberg in a statement about the procedure. Transplants from living donors are scheduled and can take place in adjacent operating rooms. She has a disease called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome, commonly known as congenital uterine absence. She received transplanted embryos seven months after the procedure, in April 2017, from which she became pregnant.

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In recent years, a small number of patients either born without wombs, or who could not conceive children with their own, have received uterus transplants from live donors - usually close friends or family members.

The first baby born from a woman who recieved a uterus transplant from a dead donor is healthy a year on.

The surgery involved connecting the donor uterus' and recipient's veins and arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.

After surgery, the recipient stayed in intensive care for two days, then spent six days on a specialised transplant ward.

Research has since continued, with informed volunteers still opting to go through the discomfort and potential trauma in the hopes of giving birth.

Although uterus transplants are a growing area of medicine, they remain highly experimental and are very hard surgeries to complete.

"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant, ' said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal". Normal prenatal testing including blood sugar tests and ultrasounds were all done and returned without any abnormalities.

These include the need to use several immune-suppressing drugs throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, which may have side effects on both the mom and the baby; having to deliver the baby and then remove the uterus in a cesarean hysterectomy procedure; a high rate of organ rejection; and a lengthy surgery that requires a multi-disciplinary approach among doctors.

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