Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic announced that they've achieved a first in North America: delivering a baby from a uterus that had been transplanted from a deceased donor.
The healthy baby girl was delivered by C-section in June. This is only the second time such a delivery has happened worldwide, the first having occurred in Brazil in December.
"We couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Everything went wonderfully with the delivery, the mother and baby girl are doing great," Dr. Uma Perni, a Cleveland Clinic maternal-fetal medicine specialist, said in a hospital news release.
Perni stressed that "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."
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the baby's mother required a uterus transplant due to a condition called uterine factor infertility, which affects about one in every 500 women of childbearing age.
The unnamed woman was in her mid-30s when she joined an ongoing clinical trial at Cleveland Clinic, exploring the possibility of uterus transplant to help her bear a child.
In late 2017, the patient underwent transplant surgery and received a uterus from a deceased donor. In late 2018, she conceived through in vitro fertilization, her medical team said.
"It was amazing how perfectly normal this delivery was, considering how extraordinary the occasion," said Cleveland Clinic transplant surgeon Dr. 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 and her family," Tzakis added. "Their generosity allowed our patient's dream to come true and a new baby to be born."
Specialists from many departments collaborated on the effort: transplant surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, fertility, neonatology, bioethics, psychiatry, nursing, anesthesiology, infectious disease, interventional radiology, patient advocacy and social work.
The baby's delivery is expected to be just the first of many, the Cleveland Clinic team said. So far, five uterus transplants have already been completed.
"Three transplants were successful and two resulted in hysterectomies," the clinic said. "Currently, two women are awaiting embryo transfers, while several more candidates are listed for transplant."
The clinic said their program seeks to eliminate risks to living donors by only sourcing the transplanted uterus from a deceased donor.
The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more on female infertility.
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