Science is truly incredible and has given so many women who have struggled to have a child of their own the means to get and stay pregnant. Recently, The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio announced the first child born to a woman who received a uterus transplant from a deceased donor. The healthy baby girl was born last month after the mother received the womb transplant in 2017. The baby was born via cesarean section.
Although womb transplants have been done before, this is the first time in the United States that the womb has come from a deceased donor. NBC News reports that in December, doctors in Brazil reported the first live birth of a child born to someone who received a donor uterus from a deceased donor.
"Through this research, we aim to make these extraordinary events ordinary for the women who choose this option," transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis said in a statement on the hospital's website. "We are grateful to the donor. Their generosity allowed our patient's dream to come true and a new baby to be born."
Maternal-fetal medicine specialist Uma Perni, MD, who was part of the American mother’s care team commented on the groundbreaking birth in a statement. "We couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Everything went wonderfully with the delivery; the mother and baby girl are doing great," she stated. "It's important to remember this is still research. The field of uterus transplantation is rapidly evolving, and it's exciting to see what the options may be for women in the future."
In the press release, the hospital stated that the woman, in her mid 30's, who successfully delivered the baby girl was part of a research trial that involved 10 different women who had uterine factor infertility (UFI). They explained that women with UFI either don't have a uterus or have had their uterus removed, thus leaving them unable to get pregnant. The study tested whether using a donor uterus from a deceased donor would allow women to become pregnant and carry a baby to term.
“It was amazing how perfectly normal this delivery was, considering how extraordinary the occasion,” said Dr. Andreas Tzakis, the Cleveland Clinic’s transplant surgeon.
“The transplantation of a uterus into a woman is a complex procedure that requires suppression of her immune system response,” Tzakis added. “Through this research, we aim to make these extraordinary events ordinary for the women who choose this option. We are grateful to the donor. Their generosity allowed our patient’s dream to come true and a new baby to be born.”
The baby was delivered “en caul,” meaning the amniotic sac remained intact until after the delivery. This is an extremely rare but safe occurrence and happened spontaneously with this delivery, adding to the special occasion.— Cleveland Clinic (@ClevelandClinic) July 9, 2019
The hospital reports that there have been five uterus transplants since the trial began. Three have been successful, including the current live birth. They state that two other women are now currently waiting for their embryo transfers.