Baby from dead donor's womb gives infertile hope

Baby born after womb transplant from dead donor

Why this matters: Expanding the pool of donors to include the dead as well as the living could help increase the number of available uteruses.

The first successful birth of a child from a womb transplanted from a dead donor in Brazil should give hope to thousands of British women that they can have children, doctors said.

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It is a very good thing compared to a live donor, she noted. Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for almost eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is.

Uterine transplants from living donors have occurred before. There have so far been a total of 39 such procedures, resulting in 11 live births.

In the us, around 10 percent of women aged between 15 to 44 struggle with fertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The team said the success meant that women for whom surrogacy or adoption was previously the only option for starting a family might soon have another path they could choose.

"Our results provide a proof-of-concept for a new option for women with uterine infertility", said Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at the teaching hospital of the University of Sao Paulo.

While womb transplants from living donors have been successful, womb transplants from deceased donors still need to be researched, as none of the deceased donor transplants has until now resulted in conception and birth.

"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", said Ejzenberg, according to Reuters.

Still, the advantage is that the surgery takes place only for a person.

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The 32-year-old mother suffers from Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome and was born without a uterus.

Just seven months after the operation, doctors were able to begin in vitro fertilization, using the patient's own eggs harvested before her transplant surgery.

The donor was a 45-year-old woman who had three previous pregnancies and died of a stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain.

The recipient in the groundbreaking case was a 32-year-old woman born without a womb due to a rare genetic disorder. After the transplant, her period returned after 37 days.

As with other organ recipients, the patient in this case was put on immune suppression drugs to reduce the chances of her body rejecting the transplant.

Research has since continued, with informed volunteers still opting to go through the discomfort and potential trauma in the hopes of giving birth.

The recipient showed no sign of organ rejection and after five months was even experiencing regular menstruation.

In this trial, the mother was given standard doses of immune suppression medications for nearly six months, with positive results, before implantation of the embryo was completed.

Ten days after implantation, the recipient was confirmed to be pregnant. Normal prenatal testing including blood sugar tests and ultrasounds were all done and returned without any abnormalities.

Both the mum and baby were discharged three days after birth, with an uneventful early follow-up. The immunosuppressive therapy was suspended at the end of the hysterectomy.

IVF Australia medical director Associate Professor Peter Illingworth said using deceased donors avoided the need for women to undergo major surgery and the risk of complications in order to donate their uterus to their loved one.

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