Thu, Dec 06, 2018 - Page 7 News List

First birth via late donor womb transplant

NEW LIFE:The procedure was the first of 11 tries to produce a live birth and could result in more transplants, as the norm is for only living family members to donate

Reuters, LONDON

A medical team holds the first baby born via a uterus transplant from a deceased donor in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Dec. 15 last year.

Photo: Reuters / Hospital das Clinicas da FMUSP

A woman in Brazil who received a womb transplanted from a deceased donor has given birth to a baby girl in the first successful case of its kind, doctors said.

The case, published in The Lancet medical journal, involved connecting veins from the donor uterus with the recipient’s veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals.

It came after 10 previously known cases of uterus transplants from deceased donors — in the US, the Czech Republic and Turkey — failed to produce a live birth.

The baby girl was delivered via caesarean section at 35 weeks and three days, and weighed 2,550g, the case study said.

Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at Sao Paulo University hospital who led the research, said the transplant — carried out in September 2016 when the recipient was 32 — shows the technique is feasible and could offer women with uterine infertility access to a larger pool of potential donors.

The norm for receiving a womb transplant is that the organ would come from a live family member willing to donate it.

“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,” Ejzenberg said in a statement.

However, the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared, she said, adding that the technique could still be refined and optimized.

The first baby born after a live donor womb transplant was in Sweden in 2013. Scientists have so far reported 39 procedures of this kind, resulting in 11 live births.

Experts estimate that infertility affects about 10 to 15 percent of couples of reproductive age worldwide. Of this group, about 1 in 500 women have uterine problems.

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

In the Brazilian case, the recipient had been born without a uterus due to a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome. The donor was 45 and died of a stroke.

Five months after the transplant, the uterus showed no signs of rejection, ultrasound scans were normal and the recipient was having regular menstruation, Ejzenberg’s team wrote.

The woman’s previously fertilized and frozen eggs were implanted after seven months, and 10 days later she was confirmed pregnant.

At seven months and 20 days, the baby girl was continuing to breastfeed and weighed 7.2kg.

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