A 32-year-old mom born without a uterus became the first to successfully give birth to a healthy baby after receiving a transplant from a deceased donor two years ago.
“This was the most important thing in her life,” Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team’s lead doctor at the University of Sao Paolo School of Medicine, told The Associated Press. "Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy."
The healthy baby born last December in Brazil is one of 11 babies born using a transplanted womb, but the 1-year-old made history as the first baby ever to be born using the uterus of a deceased donor.
The 32-year-old psychologist mom, who was not identified, became pregnant through IVF seven months after the transplant and gave birth to a healthy baby via cesarean section.
Doctors also removed the transplanted uterus during her C-section in order to take the mother off immunosuppressant medication required for maintaining a transplanted organ.
“She couldn’t keep the uterus in another pregnancy,” said Dr. Wellington Andraus, who worked on her transplant team.
The mother was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare condition that caused her to be born without a uterus.
In a bid to have biological children, she underwent a transplant where she received a 45-year-old woman’s uterus after her death. Andraus explained it was important the donor had to be around 45 years old since it becomes harder to retrieve the uterus without complications in older women, and the donor must have given birth at least once in the past to prove her uterus was viable, he said in an interview with The Lancet, a medical journal.
While there have been several cases of successful deliveries following uterine transplants from family and friends, it was once believed that a transplant from a deceased donor was not possible.
Ten previous attempts using deceased donors around the world have failed.
The Brazilian doctors are confident this successful attempt will give more options for uterus transplants in the future, having already planned two more transplants as a part of their study.
They are also confident future transplant attempts will help doctors learn the intricacies of pregnancies at every stage.