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'World first' as baby born via womb transplant from dead donor in Brazil

Medical team hold the first baby born via uterus transplant
Medical team hold the first baby born via uterus transplant Copyright REUTERSMedical team hold the first baby born via uterus transplant from a deceased donor at the hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil December 15, 2017
Copyright REUTERS
By Angela Barnes
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A woman has given birth to a baby girl after she received a womb transplant from a deceased donor, in the first successful case of its kind.


A woman who was transplanted with a deceased donor's womb has given birth to a baby girl, researchers in Brazil say.

Doctors said the breakthrough operation was the first successful case of its kind.

The baby was delivered via a Caesarean section at 35 weeks and three days. She weighed 2.5 kilograms. 

She was born in December 2017 but details of the case were only released yesterday in The Lancet Journal.

It said the case involved connecting veins from the donor's uterus with the recipient's veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.

The Journal cites 10 previous cases of failed uterus transplants from deceased donors, in the US, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

The Lancet tweeted about the breakthrough operation

Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at Brazil’s Sao Paulo University hospital, led the research. 

She 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 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.

She added that the outcomes and effects of womb donations from live and deceased donors have yet to be compared.

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

It detailed how five months after the transplant, the uterus showed no signs of rejection, ultrasound scans were normal, and the recipient was having regular menstruation.

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

At seven months and 20 days — when the case study report was submitted to The Lancet — the baby girl was continuing to breastfeed and weighed 7.2 kg (16 lb).

The report concludes that the results establish proof-of-concept for "treating uterine infertility by transplantation from a deceased donor, opening a path to a healthy pregnancy for all women with uterine factor infertility, without the need of living donors or live donor surgery".

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