Woman gives birth to first baby following womb transplant from deceased donor

A baby has been born after a womb transplant from a dead donor in a medical first [Photo: Getty]
A baby has been born after a womb transplant from a dead donor in a medical first [Photo: Getty]

A mum has given birth to a healthy baby girl after receiving a womb transplant from a deceased woman.

In a world first, a team in Brazil transplanted the donor organ into a 32-year-old who was born without a womb due to a rare genetic disorder.

The birth is the first reported involving a deceased donor womb transplant. Ten previous attempts, in the US, Czech Republic and Turkey, to achieve a live birth using a womb taken from a dead donor, had all ended in failure.

The first birth after a womb transplant from a living donor took place in Sweden in September 2013, using the woman’s grandmother’s uterus. Since then there have been 39 such procedures resulting in a total of 11 live births.

In September 2016 the recipient in the ground breaking underwent the womb transplant at the Hospital das Clinicas in Sao Paulo.

Surgeons spent 10.5 hours plumbing in the organ by connecting veins, arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals.

The woman who received the womb had already undergone IVF and had eight fertilised eggs frozen.

After checks showed that the womb was behaving normally, the frozen eggs were transplanted seven months after surgery, in April 2017, and a healthy baby girl was born 35 weeks later by caesarean section weighing 5lbs 8ozs.

The success of the surgery opens up the possibility of transplanting wombs from donor patients in the same way as other organs from dead patients, reducing the need for live donors.

The woman had frozen her eggs previous to the groundbreaking surgery [Photo: Getty]
The woman had frozen her eggs previous to the groundbreaking surgery [Photo: Getty]

News of the procedure was disclosed in The Lancet medical journal.

Commenting on the medical breakthrough Dr Dani Ejzenberg, from the Faculty of Medicine at Sao Paulo University, who led the team, 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 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.”

And now medical professionals in the UK are hoping to replicate the procedure here to help women battling infertility due to the fact they have no womb.

The Metro reports that an estimated one in 500 women have no wombs or abnormal wombs due to hysterectomies, inherited disease, malformation or infection.

Before womb transplants became a viable possibility their only options for having a child were adoption or surrogacy.

The breakthrough in womb transplantation also improves the chances of transgender women being able to get pregnant and carry a baby.

Hundreds of women in Britain have already signed up to have womb transplants and doctors are now waiting for suitable tissue matches and donors to become available.

“The UK womb transplant research team is absolutely delighted with the news from Brazil,” Richard Smith, consultant gynaecologist at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London and clinical lead at Womb Transplant UK told The Telegraph.

“Womb transplant using organs from living donors and donors who have just died is a real option for some of the many women in the UK who don’t have a viable womb.

“We hope to replicate this in the not too distant future. Watch this space.”

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