A woman who received a transplant from a deceased donor gave birth to a healthy child, researchers in Brazil said on Tuesday.
Uterine transplants from living donors have succeeded; At least 11 babies have been born this way since 2013.
"We talk about lifesaving transplants. This is a life-giving transplant, a new category. Allan D. Kirk, the chief surgeon at Duke University's Health System.
"Biologically, organs of the living and the dead are not that different," he added.
Infertility affects more than one in 10 women of reproductive age worldwide. The subject in this study, born without a uterus, received the organ from a 45-year-old woman. The donor had died of a stroke.
Seven months after the 10-hour transplant surgery – after menstruation began, and it became evident that the patient's body had not rejected the organ – doctors implanted the uterus with one's own eggs.
A six- pound baby girl was delivered through cesarean section, according to Dr. med. Dani Ejzenberg, a gynecologist at the Hospital, Clínicas at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, who led the research.
In the future, patients may be able to turn to organ banks instead of volunteering and living donors avoid risky complications search as infections or serious bleeding.
In time, researchers hope to decrease side effects and costs by reducing the amounts of immune-suppressing drugs that recipients must take. But more cases will be needed to assess whether long-term outcomes differ between living and deceased donors.
One of the greatest challenges ahead. Kirk said, "People do not identify themselves with their kidneys," he said.
"But we've learned that transplanting faces and hands feels different to people. Is the uterus very personal, or is it just another organ? "