Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

First baby born via uterus transplanted from dead donor

First baby born via uterus transplanted from dead donor

A woman in Brazil has successfully given birth after receiving a womb from a dead donor, the first time such a procedure has been successful.

The baby girl's mother was born without a uterus as a result of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome a rare disorder that affects a woman's reproductive system.

The donor was a 45 year old woman who died of sub-arachnoid haemorrhage (a type of stroke).

The baby was delivered via a Caesarean section at 35 weeks and three days. Almost a year later, the researchers say that neither the mother nor the child have experienced any complications or abnormalities. Previous attempts in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the us have failed.

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.

Before this breakthrough, women suffering from infertility due to congenital abnormalities, cancer, or other illnesses had few options aside from surrogacy or adoption.

She was born in December 2017 but details of the case were only released yesterday in The Lancet Journal. The first successful uterine transplant (from a living donor) took place in 2013 in Sweden, and the woman who received the transplant gave birth in 2014.

The recipient had her first menstruation 37 days after the uterus transplant, and continued to have regular cycles after that.

The team carefully dissected the uterus from the donor before carrying out the 10-and-a-half-hour operation in September 2016 to insert the organ, which weighed 225g.

"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", said lead author Dr Dani Ejzenberg, Hospital das Clínicas at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine. The woman's uterus was removed after she delivered.


The woman became pregnant through in vitro fertilization seven months after the transplant.

There were no major issues during the pregnancy and no signs of organ rejection.

"I'd have to say it's in the pipelines but there are easier ways to have children like finding a surrogate or adopting", she said.

"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", he said.

The fertilised eggs were implanted after seven months.

Hospital staff pictured with the healthy baby.

Dr Srdjan Saso, from Imperial College London, said the results were "extremely exciting".

"This is a great alternative compared to live donor uterus transplants and therefore a really historic achievement", said Dr. Tullius, who is also a professor of surgery at Harvard University.

Richard Kennedy, president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), said: "The IFFS welcomes this announcement which is an anticipated evolution from live donors with clear advantages and the prospect of increasing supply for women with hitherto untreatable infertility". Uterine transplants are considered "ephemeral", meaning they only stay in to allow the recipient to have children and are then removed.

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