'Extremely Exciting' World First for Woman Sans Womb

Patient gave birth to healthy baby girl after uterus transplant from deceased donor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2018 7:51 AM CST
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Congrats to the new mom.   (Getty Images/boonchai wedmakawand)

(Newser) – A 45-year-old woman who'd been pregnant and had three successful deliveries died from a stroke—but her uterus just produced its fourth child. In what Gizmodo calls a "medical first," doctors in Sao Paulo, Brazil, implanted that woman's reproductive organ after her death in a 32-year-old patient who was born without a uterus, and just over a year later, that second woman gave birth to a baby girl who now seems to be doing well. The birth was a C-section, and doctors apparently had no issues during the procedure. The "case of [live birth] via deceased donor" is outlined in the Lancet journal, which notes the new mother suffers from a rare congenital condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome that leaves sufferers with either an underdeveloped uterus or none at all, though their external genitals are typically unaffected.

Four months before the September 2016 transplant, the recipient went through IVF that resulted in eight good embryos, which were put on ice. She then had the 10-hour transplant surgery, and after a round of drugs so her body wouldn't reject the uterus, an embryo was implanted seven months later. The patient soon was confirmed pregnant and gave birth in December 2017; the uterus was taken out after the birth. The BBC notes there've been around 40 womb transplants, resulting in about a dozen live births, but none of those donors were deceased. One doctor calls the development an "extremely exciting" one, as finding live donors who want to give up their uterus can be difficult. CNN notes the baby, now almost a year old, is doing fine, as is the mother. (America's first uterus transplant failed just one day after being deemed a success.)

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