A healthy baby girl was born to a mother who received a uterus transplant from a deceased donor
For only the second time in history, and for the first time in North America, a healthy baby was born to a mother with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor. The birth was part of a ten-woman clinical study of uterine transplants taking place at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
According to a statement released by the clinic, the baby girl was born in June via cesarean section, and currently both mother and baby are healthy and happy.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Everything went wonderfully with the delivery; the mother and baby girl are doing great,” said Uma Perni, a doctor involved in the trial in a press release.
“It was amazing how perfectly normal this delivery was, considering how extraordinary the occasion,” said transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis, MD
Doctors transplanted the womb into the mother, who is in her mid-30s, in late 2017, and a year later she became pregnant through in vitro fertilization. The woman, along with about 1 in 5,000 women, has uterine factor infertility (UFI) — infertility caused by an issue with the uterus. Some women are born with ovaries but without a uterus, or with an under-developed or non-functioning uterus. In other cases, woman have had to have their uterus removed for medical reasons, such as uterine cancer.
“The transplantation of a uterus into a woman is a complex procedure that requires suppression of her immune system response,” said Tzakis. “Through this research, we aim to make these extraordinary events ordinary for the women who choose this option.
Tzakis added a thoughtful word about the donor of the womb.
“We are grateful to the donor,” he said. “Their generosity allowed our patient’s dream to come true and a new baby to be born.”
In an amazing video, also released by the Cleveland Clinic, you can see the baby’s moment of birth. She was delivered en caul, with the amniotic sac intact, which is extremely rare and which the clinic says happened spontaneously. The clinic also said that the phenomenon added to the special occasion.
The 10-woman trial has so far involved five uterine transplants. Three of the transplants have been successful: one resulted in this birth and two others are in the in vitro fertilization process. The remaining two uterine transplants were rejected and had to be removed via hysterectomy.
In December, the first-ever baby born via uterine transplant from a dead donor was delivered safely in Brazil. In that case, doctors at the Hospital das Clínicas at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine in Brazil implanted the womb of a deceased 45-year-old woman who suffered a stroke into a 32-year-old woman with an under-developed uterus.
In 2014, a Swedish woman who was born without a uterus was the first person to have a child after a uterine transplant from a living donor. In that case, the woman received the organ from her 61-year-old friend who had gone through menopause.
While more and more successful births from donor organs are being reported around the world, it is still rare, elaborate, and rife with complications as researchers, scientists, and doctors work to make the procedure safer and more streamlined, allowing some women who have been told that they could never give birth to have that experience and carry their child.
“It’s important to remember that this is still research, but it’s exciting to see what the options may be for women in the future,” said Permi.