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07 December 2018, 08:16 | Randall Craig
A medical team in São Paulo with a baby born via a uterine transplant. Divulgação
The report of a Brazilian woman giving birth to a healthy baby girl past year, post a 10-hour long uterus transplant surgery, has added another feather in the medical world's cap and given a ray of hope to women with uterus infertility.
There have been several successful pregnancies using uterus transplants from live donors, since the procedure was pioneered by Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom about five years ago.
Brazilian doctors are now planning more transplants following the procedure.
Besides saving the life of patients with failed vital organs, scientists have also conducted hand or face transplants in recent years to improve a person's quality of life. He also tried the procedure on a second Brazilian woman, but she had to have the uterus removed two days after the operation because of complications.
Currently, uterus donation is only available for women with family members who are willing to donate.
The medical team at the Hospital das Clinicas holding the first baby to be born following a uterus transplant from a deceased donor.
According to Lancet, Infertility affects 10-15% of couples of reproductive age. There have been previous attempts to birth a child using a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor, however, all have proved unsuccessful.
On 15 December 2017, a baby girl weighing 2,550 grams (5.6 pounds) was delivered through Caesarean section.
Richard Kennedy, president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), said: "The IFFS welcomes this announcement which is an anticipated evolution from live donors with clear advantages and the prospect of increasing supply for women with hitherto untreatable infertility".
The woman - a 32-year-old psychologist - was initially apprehensive about the transplant, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team's lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine.
The team said the success meant that women for whom surrogacy or adoption was previously the only option for starting a family might soon have another path they could choose.
The use of a deceased donor is a significant achievement that could greatly increase access to the procedure, said Stefan Tullius, chief of transplant surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has participated in living donor uterus transplant surgery. "The numbers of people willing and committed to donate organs upon their own deaths are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population".
So far, there have been 39 uterus transplants from live donors around the world, resulting in 11 births. Seven months after the transplant, the woman's fertilized eggs were implanted into the uterus, resulting in pregnancy.
Research has since continued, with informed volunteers still opting to go through the discomfort and potential trauma in the hopes of giving birth. It is estimated that one woman out of 500 would be the victim of an abnormality of the uterus into the world.
There were no issues during the recipient's pregnancy, other than a kidney infection at 32 weeks which was treated with antibiotics in hospital.
The Brazilian woman did not have any pregnancy problems, Ejzenberg says, but he removed the uterus during the C-section because he wants to focus on helping more women have a single child rather than on one woman having more than one.
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