In a first for North America, the Cleveland Clinic of Ohio announced on Tuesday that it delivered a baby from the transplanted womb of a dead donor.
In a news release, the hospital said that the little girl’s mother, a 30-year-old woman, is part of a research trial involving 10 women with uterine factor infertility — a condition characterized by the lack of a uterus.
“The transplantation of a uterus into a woman is a complex procedure that requires suppression of her immune system response,” said transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis. “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.”
Since the trial started, the hospital has carried out three successful uterus transplants, the clinic said. Two participants in the trial are currently waiting for embryo transfers, while several others are still in line for a transplant, it added.
A uterus transplant from a deceased donor begins with the stimulation of a living woman’s ovaries, which, in turn, produces multiple eggs. The eggs are then fertilized in a lab, where six embryos are later selected and frozen.
The living woman subsequently takes anti-rejection drugs to prepare for the nearly eight-hour transplant, which requires removing the donor’s uterus and blood vessels and reattaching them to the woman’s pelvis. Once the woman’s uterus heals, her frozen embryos are then thawed and implanted one at a time.
Though the Cleveland hospital is the first in North America to successfully perform a uterus transplant from a deceased donor, doctors in Brazil had previously carried out a similar procedure last December, according to NBC News.