EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The first baby has been born following a uterus transplant from a deceased donor. The infant was delivered via c-section at 35 weeks to a Brazilian woman born without a uterus. There have been 10 other attempts using deceased donors, but this is the first to result in a live birth.
Experts say with live donors in short supply, this could give women struggling with infertility more options. WEAU Health Correspondent Dr. Alicia Arnold sat down with Tyler Mickelson to talk about what this birth means for the medical community. Their Q&A can be found below.
For the medical community, how important is this birth? What does it mean for the future?
Dr. Alicia Arnold, “A uterine transplant is a fairly new procedure. It has only been successful in the last few years with a living donor, so someone donates their uterus while they are still alive, and even this has only resulted in a limited number of babies being born. So this is an area of continued research, but it is promising that success was achieved for the first time with a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor. This may increase the supply of organs for women who are candidates to receive a uterine transplant.”
Will the baby be monitored for a while to make sure everything is ok?
Dr. Alicia Arnold, “I suspect that the baby received normal monitoring after birth. It is my understanding that this embryo was created using IVF and then transferred into the womb. This pregnancy would have been monitored by ultrasound and labs, and clearly the transplanted uterus was able to successfully carry the pregnancy.”
Are there any risks to a procedure like this?
Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Anytime doctors perform a surgical procedure, there are risks. Also, the previous attempts to transplant a uterus from a deceased donor either failed to be a successful transplant or else were not able to carry a baby long enough.”
The donor of the uterus was deceased... Does this open the door for doctors to try other organs too?
Dr. Alicia Arnold, “I think it is really encouraging that the medical team was able to achieve success for this patient. I think it is important to emphasize that these are long, complex operations. Certain organs are more complex to transplant than others. Other options are available like using a surrogate to carry the pregnancy or adoption.”
Are there a lot of women in need of a uterus transplant? How rare is it?
Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Some patients are born without a uterus or else an incompletely formed uterus that cannot carry a pregnancy. Others might have had to have their uterus surgically removed for some reason during their lifetime. Overall this is a relatively rare cause of infertility.”