Baby from dead donor's womb gives infertile hope

According to Lancet Infertility affects 10-15% of couples of reproductive age

In what could prove to be a major advancement for couples facing infertility, the first baby born from a deceased donor uterus transplant was successfully completed at the University Of Sao Paulo School Of Medicine in Brazil, according to a report in the scientific journal Lancet.

The baby girl's mother was born without a uterus as a result of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome a rare disorder that affects a woman's reproductive system.

A team in Brazil transplanted the womb from a dead 45-year-old woman into an infertile 32-year-old recipient, who went on to have a healthy baby girl.

The first baby born from a woman who recieved a uterus transplant from a dead donor is healthy a year on. Seven months after the surgery, an embryo was implanted and her pregnancy was confirmed.

The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth at 35 weeks and three days by cesarean section.

In 2011 a team in Turkey was the first to transplant a uterus from a deceased donor, but the procedure did not lead to a live birth.

It is hoped that this, the first ever uterine transplant involving a deceased donor and the first uterine transplantation in Latin America, could enable more women struggling with fertility issues to undergo treatment without having to wait for a live donor.

The news opens the door for patients who are normally unable to bear children - after hysterectomies, or because they suffer from diseases like cancer - to receive a uterus transplant and carry their own child.

But crucially, similar transplants have been done with fetuses which came from a live donor.

Describing the procedure as a "medical milestone", Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at the teaching hospital of the University of São Paulo, said: "Our results provide a proof of concept for a new option for women with uterine infertility".

The whole field of uterus transplantation is in its early days.

"The number 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".

Knowing this could make all the difference not just when it comes to deceased donations, but live ones as well.

At the age of seven months, the baby continued to breastfeed and weighed 15lbs and 14oz (7.2 kilos).

Two more transplants are planned as part of the Brazilian study.

The Cleveland program is continuing to use deceased donors.

The oldest child born via uterine transplant - a boy - had just had his fourth birthday. 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.

She received five immunosuppression drugs to prevent her body rejecting the new organ, as well as other treatments to combat infection and blood clotting.

Those possibilities, paired with improved surgical practices, means uterus transplantation could someday become a standard procedure, Ejzenberg says. There have been previous attempts to birth a child using a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor, however, all have proved unsuccessful.

"It is a breakthrough in the field of obstetrics as well as a great advantage for women who lost their uterus for some reason or don't have from birth".

"Successful pregnancy, without evidence of any compromise in spite of the uterus (womb) being without oxygen for eight hours before transplant, was unique".

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