A team of Brazilian doctors have announced a miracle birth that's the first of its kind. A woman in their care gave birth to the first baby born from a transplanted uterus that came from a deceased person.
The baby girl was born in December of last year, but the details of her birth were just released in the medical journal The Lancet.
The baby's mother, who has not been named publicly, was born without a uterus because of a rare syndrome. Doctors transplanted a uterus from a 45-year-old donor who had died of a stroke, and seven months later—after the 32-year-old transplant recipient had started menstruating and it was clear her body was not rejecting the organ—the recipient was impregnated via in-vitro fertilization.
The transplant recipient gave birth via C-section, and doctors also removed the uterus at that time.
Doctors made the decision to remove the organ partly so the woman would no longer have to take anti-rejection medicines. Nearly a year later, the mom and the baby are both healthy. Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team’s lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, said that the baby's mother was initially hesitant to go through with the transplant, but it ended up being "the most important thing in her life."
This is not the first successful uterine transplant. However, it is the first successful uterine transplant involving an organ from a deceased person.
Eleven babies have been born from uterine transplants from living donors since 2013. The New York Times reports that there have been 10 other attempted uterus transplants from deceased donors in the United States, Turkey and Czech Republic, and none of them have been successful. In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic attempted a pregnancy using a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed because of an infection. The success of this transplant could mean that more successful uterine transplants from deceased women are possible, potentially increasing the availability of the organs for those who need them.
The news has been met with excitement online, with some even asking if they can sign up to be a donor.
But others have accused doctors of going too far.
Uterine transplants aren't about to become standard just yet. There is still more testing to be done, and researchers say there is so much important information to be learned from the procedure. Two more transplants from deceased patients are planned as part of the Brazilian study.
Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored the accompanying commentary in the Lancet, wrote, “There are still lots of things we don’t understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant. These transplants will help us understand implantation and every stage of pregnancy.”
This post was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.