F or the first time, a woman has given birth after receiving a transplant from a deceased donor, researchers reported Tuesday.
The whole field of uterine transplantation is in its early days. But that said, "This is really an exciting moment," said Drs. Rebecca Flyckt, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the research.
advertisement in the Lancet, researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil have removed a uterus from a 45-year-old woman who died from a brain had hemorrhage and had three children. The organ was transplanted into a 32-year-old woman.
The woman's pregnancy is normal, and doctors performed on embryo made via in-vitro fertilization from the woman's sperm into her womb.
Caesarean section on Dec. 1
"The use of deceased donors could not have been extended to this treatment," Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, who led the research, said in a statement. He added: "The numbers of people willing and committed to donate organs upon their own deaths are more than those of live donors, offering a great deal against potential donor population."
Experts hope uterus transplants will one day be more widely available transgender women – seeking to become pregnant. In Sweden in 2014, doctors for a time with a transplanted uterus give birth; since then, there have been a dozen babies born around the world. Last year, doctors at Dallas Baylor University Medical Center delivered the first U.S.
In all of these cases, the uterus has become a transplanted uterus. But any donor has undergone a radical hysterectomy, a lengthy procedure (it once took 10 to 12 hours, and is now four to six hours) that comes with its own risk and recovery period.
Researchers in Turkey performed a uterine transplant in 2011 from a deceased donor but did not have any successful pregnancies. Flyct and her colleagues in Cleveland have performed two transplants from deceased donors. In the first, the uterus had to be removed from the recipient after an infection occurred;
Part of the challenge in transplanting a uterus from a deceased donor is that the process is "getting it done" a recipient based on blood type and other qualities, and completing the operation – can take time. The uterus can only survive from a blood supply for so long.
The researchers in Brazil reported that the uterus was ischemic – meaning, a blood supply lasted for almost eight hours living donor transplants.
"This is utterly resilient," said Flyckt.
As with other organ recipients, the patient in this case what to do in order to reduce the chances of your body rejecting the transplant. Surgeons so performed a hysterectomy – they removed the uterus – during the C-section. Uterine transplants are considered to be "ephemeral,"
The pool of potential uterus donors is not involved in the study actually quite small, even taking into account deceased donors. But they said it would be a good match.
"This is a very important birth for the whole uterine transplant community," said Dr. Johns. Liza Johannesson, a uterus transplant surgeon at Baylor who previously worked with the Swedish research team. "It's a landmark birth."