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December 05, 2018

Woman gives birth via uterus transplanted from deceased donor — the world's first

The case study from Brazil was published on Tuesday

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The astounding case of a woman in Brazil who gave birth via the world’s first successful womb transplant was documented on Tuesday. 

The 32-year-old woman, who was born without a uterus, gave birth to a healthy six-pound baby girl via cesarean section at 35 weeks and three days, according to the case study published in The Lancet medical journal.

The mother had received a uterus transplanted from a 45-year-old woman who had three previous children and died of a stroke. The donor uterus was implanted during a 10-hour operation, which involved connecting veins from the uterus to the prospective mother's veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals, the Huffington Post reported.

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Seven months after the transplant, doctors implanted an embryo made using in-vitro fertilization to spur the pregnancy, USA Today reported. Following the birth on December 15, 2017, doctors removed the uterus so the mother could discontinue the anti-rejection medications she had been taking.

Today, both mother and baby are perfectly healthy. In fact, at seven months and 20 days ― when the case study report was submitted to The Lancet ― the baby girl was continuing to breastfeed and weighed 16 pounds.

Dani Ejzenberg, a doctor at Brazil’s Sao Paulo University hospital who led the research, said the transplant ― which was carried out in September 2016 when the recipient was 32 ― shows the technique is feasible and could offer women with uterine infertility access to a larger pool of potential donors. But this case comes after 10 other cases of uterus transplants from deceased donors ― in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey ― failed to produce a live birth, per Huffington Post.

Interestingly, the current protocol for womb transplants involves the woman receiving the organ from a live family member willing to donate it.

“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,” Ejzenberg said in a statement about the results. But the success of live versus deceased donors has yet to be compared.

According to the Huffington Post, the first baby born after a live donor womb transplant was in Sweden in 2013. Since then, scientists have reported a total of 39 procedures of this kind, resulting in 11 live births.

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