A woman in Brazil has successfully given birth using a womb transplanted from a dead donor, Reuters reported. The details of the case – the first procedure of its kind – were published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday.
Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at Brazil’s Sao Paulo University Hospital who led the research, said the transplant was carried out in September 2016. The recipient, then 32 years old, was born without a uterus due to a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome. She received one from a 45-year-old donor who died of stroke.
The uterus showed no signs of rejection five months after the transplant and the recipient was having regular menstruation. The woman had previously frozen her fertilised eggs, which were implanted seven months after the procedure. She was confirmed to be pregnant 10 days later.
The baby girl was delivered via caesarean section on December 15, 2017, at 35 weeks and three days. She weighed around 2.55 kg at the time of birth.
This was the 11th known case of uterus transplant from deceased donors. Previous attempts – in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey – had failed to produce a live birth.
When the case study was submitted to The Lancet, the baby was seven months and 20 days old, weighed around 7.2 kg, and was being breastfed.
Ejzenberg said the successful operation could give women access to a larger pool of potential uterine donors since only those alive are currently allowed to donate the organ. “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,” he added.
Ejzenberg said the technique can be further optimised as doctors have not yet compared the results and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors. There have been 39 womb transplants using live donors, helping give birth to 11 babies. The first birth from a live donor womb took place in Sweden in 2013.