The report of a Brazilian woman giving birth to a healthy baby girl last year, post a 10-hour long uterus transplant surgery, has added another feather in the medical world’s cap and given a ray of hope to women with uterus infertility. The report was published in the medical journal, The Lancet, which stated that the case involved connecting veins from the donor’s uterus to that of the 32-year-old recipient’s veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals since the latter was born without one due to some rare syndrome.
The donor was 45 years old when she died of a stroke and donated her uterus. To prevent the recipient’s body from rejecting the new organ, the woman was given five immunosuppression drugs, as well as antimicrobials, anti-blood clotting treatment and aspirin. Five months after the uterus showed no signs of rejection, the doctors were able to implant the woman’s previously fertilised and frozen eggs and 10 days later she was confirmed pregnant.
The baby was delivered via a caesarean section and weighed 2,550 grams at birth. The uterus was removed from recipient post that.
Since live uterus donors are a limitation, the report shows that uterus transplants from deceased donors are feasible and may open access for all women with uterine problems, without the need for live donors, as is the practice currently. The live donors need to be family members of the woman and be willing to donate, as per the current practice. Previously, 10 similar operations were conducted- in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey but none could manage to produce a live birth.
One in 500 women has uterine anomalies in the reproductive age group, reports The Lancet, pointing out that infertility affects 10-15% of couples. However, doctors caution that the outcomes and effects of donations from live and deceased donors are yet to be compared, and the surgical and immunosuppression techniques will be optimised in the future.