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Ask Dr. Nandi: First baby in the U.S. born from transplanted womb of dead donor

Posted: 6:13 PM, Jul 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-12 18:13:59-04

(WXYZ) — A baby girl born from a transplanted uterus of a deceased donor is healthy and doing well. The birth is the first for the United States and the second worldwide.

The mother is part of an ongoing trial at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio where 5 other women had uterus transplants.

Transplants are very complicated and certainly not without risks. Cleveland Clinic’s protocol for this clinical trial calls for the uterus to come from a deceased donor because they really want to eliminate all the risks for living donors.

Living donors undergo major abdominal surgery and there are many vital organs nearby. Complications can include infection, blood clots, and urinary injury.

Now the procedure also comes with similar risks for the recipient. They also need to take anti-rejection drugs in hopes of preventing their body from rejecting the organ.

Another concern is that immunosuppressive medications can cross the placenta and several of them are linked to low birth weight and preterm delivery.

Uterus transplants are considered highly experimental. With Cleveland Clinic’s trial, they plan on enrolling 10 women.

Of the five uterus transplants that have been done so far, three of them were successful. At the moment, two of those women are now waiting to attempt pregnancy. So they really can’t say with certainty how successful this will be as the research is still ongoing. But it does show potential.

The clinical trial is only for women between the ages of 21 and 39 years of age, who have been diagnosed with uterine factor infertility or UFI for short. About 1 in 500 women worldwide are affected by this condition. They either have abnormalities of the uterus that prevents them from getting pregnant, or they were born without a uterus or lost their uterus. So this pioneering procedure really offers hope for these women.

But with the field of uterus transplantation rapidly evolving, who knows what the future will hold for all women who are unable to have a child for medical reasons.