A baby has been born from a dead donor’s uterus for the first time

World’s first baby is born from a dead woman’s uterus transplant in Brazil

  • The baby girl was born last December to a woman in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • The procedure has been attempted 11 times but a live baby has never been born 
  • Scientists now say the procedure could be a ray of hope for infertile woman
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A baby has been born to a mother who received a transplanted womb from a dead woman in a world-first medical procedure.

Now almost one year old, the healthy girl was born weighing 5lbs 10oz in December last year to a 32-year-old woman in Brazil.

The landmark birth marks a huge fertility breakthrough, which scientists say offers hope to thousands of infertile women.

Eleven babies have been born from living uterus donors but the procedure has never succeeded when using an organ from a deceased woman.

Doctors published details of the milestone birth in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.


The baby, who has not been named by doctors, was born in Hospital das Clinicas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, last year and is the first live birth from a uterus donated from a dead woman

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Doctors at the Hospital das Clinicas at the University of Sao Paulo implanted the dead donor’s uterus into the mother in September 2016.

The new mother was born without a womb because of a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH).

In the pioneering 11-hour operation, medics canadian online pharmacy implanted a uterus donated by a 45-year-old woman, who was a mother herself, who died of a stroke.

She also gave away her heart, liver and kidneys. It is unclear if any other patients have benefitted from her organs.

The woman spent two days in intensive care and was given immunosuppression drugs to stop her body rejecting the new organ.

After having the womb transplanted, the unnamed woman had her first period after 37 days then menstruated regularly until she became pregnant seven months later.

Her eggs had been frozen before the transplant took place and the woman became pregnant on the first attempt at implanting an embryo fertilised through IVF.

The baby was born by caesarean section after 35 weeks and three days, and measured 45cm in length – average for a newborn.


The woman had a fertilised embryo implanted into her womb after the eggs were taken from her ovaries before the womb transplant, and she became pregnant within seven months of the landmark procedure

When the baby was removed, surgeons took out the transplanted uterus at the same time. Usually, they are left in for a while when taken from a living donor.

‘The use of deceased donors could greatly broaden access to this treatment,’ said Dr Dani Ejzenberg, author of the study reporting the woman’s case.

‘The first uterus transplants from live donors were a medical milestone, creating the possibility of childbirth for many infertile women with access to suitable donors and the needed medical facilities.

‘However, the need for a live donor is a major limitation as donors are rare, typically being willing and eligible family members or close friends.

‘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.’


The baby was born by caesarean section after 35 weeks and three days, and measured 45cm in length – average for a newborn

As many as 15 per cent of all couples of reproductive age are affected by infertility – approximately 3.5million people in the UK and 6.1million in the US.

Hundreds of women, such as those with MRKH, live without wombs, meaning they cannot conceive naturally or through IVF alone.

For them, a womb transplant is the only option but the procedure has only started to become successful in recent years, with only 11 live births so far.

HOW DID THE WOMB TRANSPLANT WORK?

The womb and blood vessels supplying it were removed from a 45-year-old woman – herself a mother – who had died of a stroke.

They were then implanted into the new mother, who was born without a womb of her own, in an almost 11-hour operation, and the blood vessels connected to her own.

She began to menstruate 37 days after the operation and then had regular periods until she became pregnant seven months later.

An embryo was implanted using eggs which had been taken from her ovaries before the womb transplant procedure and fertilised using IVF.

The baby grew healthily and was born after 35 weeks and three days by caesarean section.

During the caesarean section the woman’s implanted womb was also removed and both mother and baby recovered normally.

The first transplant from a living donor was attempted in Saudi Arabia in 2000, but there were no live births until 2012 in Sweden.

Eight babies have been born in Sweden from nine living womb transplants since the original breakthrough.

Two more – including one earlier this year – have been born in Dallas, Texas. A third was announced in Serbia last year.

A woman is currently pregnant in India after having a womb transplanted from a living donor in 2017, the medics wrote in the report.

There have been a total of 39 attempts to transplant wombs from living donors, but procedures in Lebanon, Czech Republic, Germany and China have not yet resulted in pregnancies.

And researchers in the UK hope to start trials of womb transplants to help the thousands of women born without wombs.

Transplanting from dead donors, however, has only been attempted 11 times – in Turkey, Ohio and Texas in the US, Czech Republic and Brazil.

The first attempt in Turkey, back in 2011, did result in a pregnancy but the mother miscarried – this is the first time the procedure had worked.

‘This is the first case of a successful pregnancy from a deceased donor,’ confirmed Professor Andrew Shennan, of King’s College London.

‘Successful pregnancy, without evidence of any compromise in spite of the uterus being without oxygen for eight hours before transplant, was unique.

‘This opens the possibility of women donating their womb following death, as with many other organs.


Pictured: doctors at the hospital hold the baby girl after she was born. ‘The use of deceased donors could greatly broaden access to this treatment,’ said Dr Dani Ejzenberg, author of the study reporting the case

‘This allows a further option for women with uterine problems preventing them having a baby to carry their own child, rather than relying on live donors, a surrogate or adoption.’

And researchers in the UK hope to start trials of womb transplants to help the thousands of women born without wombs.

Dr Srdjan Saso, of Imperial College London said: ‘This successful demonstration demonstrates a few advantages over live donation.

‘It enables use of a much wider potential donor population, applies lower costs and avoids live donors’ surgical risks.’

He added: ‘Our hope, as we plan to kick-start the UK programme at the beginning of 2019, is for the deceased donor uterine transplant programme to grow alongside its “live donor” counterpart, prove achievable and successful so that both women with willing donors in their families, and those not, can have a real option of carrying a healthy pregnancy.’


Implantation of wombs from living donors has been attempted 39 times and 11 babies have been born, but the use of a dead donor’s womb has never been successful before. A woman became pregnant in Turkey because of the procedure, but she miscarried

WHAT IS MAYER ROKITANSKY KUSTER HAUSER?

Rokitansky Syndrome, or MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser), is a congenital abnormality characterised by the absence of the vagina, womb and cervix.

Women suffering from the condition will have normally functioning ovaries, so will experience the normal signs of puberty – but will not have periods or be able to conceive.

The external genatalia are completely normal which is why MRKH isn’t usually discovered until women are in their teenage years.


Rokitansky Syndrome, or MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser), is a congenital abnormality characterised by the absence of the vagina, womb and cervix

Many women are able to create a vaginal canal using dilation treatment, which uses cylinder shaped dilators of different sizes to stretch the muscles.

However, if this is unsuccessful then surgery will be used to stretch the vaginal canal.

Following treatment women are able to have intercourse and can have their eggs removed and fertilised to be used in surrogacy. However, those without ovaries won’t ever be able to have children because they don’t produce any eggs.

It affects one in 5,000 live female births, according to an 1985 article in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 

Source: Centre for Disorders of Reproductive Development & Adolescent  

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