Science is ever creating ways of achieving the impossible. A baby was successfully born from the womb from a dead woman. The dead woman’s womb was donated and transplanted to another in an operation that took 10 hours.
The transplant was carried out in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2016. The transplant was followed with fertility treatment and this was done to a woman who was born without a womb.
There have been attempts to transplants womb from a dead donor which have not been successful resulting in miscarriages. This is the first time the procedure will be successful.
Although there have been transplants using live donors and 11 babies have been successfully delivered.
There have been 39 womb transplants using a live donor, including mothers donating their womb to their daughter, resulting in 11 babies.
The woman who received the dead donor’s womb had Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, which affects about one in every 4,500 women and the effect is the vagina and uterus (womb) fails to form properly.
However, the ovaries were not affected. And doctors removed her eggs, fertilised them with the father-to-be’s sperm and froze them.
The woman was given drugs that weakened her immune system so that her body will be unable to fight the foreign organ and reject the transplant.
After about six weeks, she started having periods and then seven months later the fertilised eggs were implanted.
The baby was delivered by Caesarean section on 15 December 2017 after a normal pregnancy. The baby weighed 2.5kg.
Dr Dani Ejzenberg, from Hospital das Clínicas in São Paulo, said: “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.”
Dr Srdjan Saso, from Imperial College London, said the results were “extremely exciting”.
“It enables the use of a much wider potential donor population, applies lower costs and avoids live donors’ surgical risks.”