Baby born after historic first transplant from dead donor

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A mother has given birth to a healthy baby girl after surgeons implanted a womb in her body taken from a dead person.

The birth, in Brazil, is the first reported involving a deceased donor womb transplant.

Ten previous attempts to achieve a live birth using a womb taken from a dead individual, had all ended in failure.

The recipient in the ground-breaking case was a 32-year-old woman born without a womb due to a rare genetic disorder.

In September 2016 she underwent the womb transplant in Sao Paulo. The uterus was taken from a 45-year-old donor who had died from a brain haemorrhage.

Surgeons spent 10.5 hours plumbing in the organ by connecting veins, arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals.

News of the procedure was disclosed in The Lancet medical journal.

Dr Dani Ejzenberg, from the Faculty of Medicine at Sao Paulo University, who led the team, said: “The use of deceased donors could greatly broaden access to this treatment, and our results provide proof-of-concept for a new option for women with uterine infertility.

“The first uterus transplants from live donors were a medical milestone, creating the possibility of childbirth for many infertile women with access to suitable donors and the needed medical facilities.

“However, the need for a live donor is a major limitation as donors are rare, typically being willing and eligible family members or close friends.

“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.”

Five months after the transplant, the implanted womb appeared to have been successfully incorporated into the woman’s body.

Two months later eight fertilised eggs were implanted into the womb. Pregnancy was confirmed 10 days after implantation.

A baby girl weighing 2.55 kilos (6.6 pounds) was born by caesarean section after a pregnancy lasting 35 weeks and three days.

During the delivery, the transplanted womb was removed and after the birth both patient and baby appeared healthy and well.

At the age of seven months and 20 days the baby was breastfeeding and weighed 7.2 kilos (15lbs 14oz.)

Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics at King’s College London, said this “opens the possibility of women donating their womb after death”.