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First Successful Uterus Transplant from Deceased Donor Leads to Healthy Baby
07 December 2018, 08:12 | Rodolfo Wallace
The medical team after the baby's birth. Divulgação Hospital das Clínicas da FMUSP
Following the 10-hour-long surgery, which connected the uterus and part of the donor's vagina to the recipient's vagina and circulatory system, the woman then took a regimen of immunosuppressant drugs that kept her body from rejecting the donor uterus.
Aside from relying on a deceased donor for their uterine transplant, the doctors might have also made the procedure less costly and risky.
Brazilian doctors are now planning more transplants following the procedure.
"They should promote education and guidance so that the groups performing uterus transplantation for the first time can benefit from the experience of the pioneers".
The uterus was removed from the donor and transplanted into the recipient in a surgery that also involved connecting the donor uterus' and recipient's veins and arteries, ligament, and vaginal canals. The woman's uterus was removed after she delivered.
Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom pioneered uterus transplantation.
Although uterus transplants are a growing area of medicine, they remain highly experimental and are very hard surgeries to complete.
She added, however, that the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared, and said the technique could still be refined and optimised.
In December 2017, doctors at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas announced that the first US baby was born to a mother who received a uterus transplant from a living donor.
According to Lancet, Infertility affects 10-15% of couples of reproductive age. Ten days later, doctors delivered the good news: she was pregnant. The baby girl was born via caesarean section on December 15, 2017, at 35 weeks of gestation.
"The successful case in our service brings hope to other centers that believe in this type of transplant", Ejzenberg said in an email to TIME.
Research leader Dr Dani Ejzenberg, of Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil, said: "The use of deceased donors could greatly broaden access to this treatment and our results provide proof-of-concept for a new option for women with uterine infertility". The live donors need to be family members of the woman and be willing to donate, as per the current practice.
The woman received five immunosuppression drugs, as well as antimicrobials, anti-blood clotting treatment and aspirin while in hospital, and immunosuppression was continued up until the woman gave birth.
Eleven children have been born following uterine transplantation from living donors, the first of which occurred in Sweden in September 2013.
While researchers in countries including Sweden and the United States have previously succeeded in transplanting wombs from living donors into women who have gone on to give birth, experts said the latest development was a significant advance. Four months prior to the operation, the recipient had one IVF cycle, providing her with eight fertilized eggs which were then frozen.
The baby girl was seven months and 20 days old, weighing 7.5kg when the researchers wrote their report.
"The number 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 authors say their version of the procedure isn't meant to replace the possibility of using a living donor, but rather to give women with uterine problems another option.
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