1st baby born from deceased organ donor's womb

Doctors hold a baby girl born to a mother who received a uterus from a deceased donor in Brazil. A novel transplantation procedure may help more infertile women become pregnant

When the researchers wrote the paper describing the case - about seven months after the birth - both mom and the baby girl were healthy. Four months prior to the operation, the recipient had one IVF cycle, providing her with eight fertilized eggs which were then frozen.

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

Tragically, the pregnancy was determined to be unviable six weeks after conception and was terminated, calling into doubt whether uteruses provided by deceased donors could feasibly carry a new life completely through gestation.

The woman was given immunosuppressants to prevent rejection of the womb, while the team took biopsies of the cervix at regular intervals to check for signs of rejection.

The surgical team had to connect the donor's uterus with the veins, arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canal of the recipient.

Stuart Lavery, a consultant gynaecologist at Hammersmith hospital who was not involved in the latest study, said the birth was "quite a significant step", noting that using wombs from deceased donors improves safety.

And, after a normal pregnancy, a 6lb (2.5kg) baby was delivered by Caesarean section on 15 December 2017. So far the uterus has not been left after taking out the baby.

"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 current need for live donors "is a major limitation as donors are rare, typically being willing and eligible family members or close friends", Dr Ejzenberg said.

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"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", said Ejzenberg, according to Reuters.

Besides women who lost uterus or do not have from birth, this kind of transplant could also someday open doors for people who are transgender, Ms Sharma suggested. This affects approximately 3 to 5 per cent of women, Dr. Tullius said, including those born without a uterus or those who have had hysterectomies for cancer-related reasons.

Ultrasound scans showed no abnormalities and she was menstruating regularly.

"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.

She raised concerns about the unknown long term effects of the technique, particularly the fetuses' months of exposure to immuno-suppressant drugs. Two babies have been born at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas and one in Serbia, also from transplants from living donors.

"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant", said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal.

"But you can't underestimate the desperation some women feel when they can't have children".

In what is believed to be a world first, a woman in Brazil gave birth to a healthy baby girl after receiving a uterus transplant from a deceased donor.

But it was not a procedure Australian specialists were likely to offer any time soon.

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