Doctors perform first womb transplant from dead donor

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The Week

Woman in Brazil gives birth to a healthy baby using donated uterus

Doctors in Brazil have performed the first ever successful womb transplant from a deceased donor, after the recipient gave birth to a healthy baby girl a year on from the operation.

The milestone has been documented in a report published yesterday in medical journal The Lancet.

The 32-year-old recipient was born without a uterus as the result of a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, meaning she had been unable to carry a foetus naturally.

Eight fertilised embryos conceived through IVF were frozen while she underwent surgery to receive the donor uterus, which came from a 45-year-old mother of three who died of a stroke.

Fourteen months after the operation, she gave birth to a healthy girl via Caesarean section on 15 December 2017.

Although the first successful uterus transplants took place in 2013, “no case of livebirth via deceased donor uterus has, to our knowledge, been successfully achieved” before now, say the authors of the report.

“The current norm for receiving a womb transplant is that the organ would come from a live family member willing to donate it,” says Al Jazeera, resulting in a narrow pool of potential donors who may not have the ability or willingness to donate their uterus.

The landmark procedure proves the possibility of “treating uterine infertility by transplantation from a deceased donor, opening a path to healthy pregnancy for all women with uterine factor infertility, without need of living donors or live donor surgery”, say the report’s authors.

The Times reports that around 15,000 women in the UK were born without a uterus, while others require a hysterectomy as the result of a medical condition.

Dr Dani Ejzenberg, who led the team, told The Times that he had visited the baby girl last weekend ahead of her first birthday and that she was “doing great”.

 

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