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Uterus transplantation from a deceased donor

The Brazilian group of scientists from the University of São Paulo announced the world's first birth after uterus transplantation, obtained from a deceased donor. This incident led to the appearance of a healthy girl weighing 2.5 kg, born last December from a mother with a congenital absence of the uterus (MRKH syndrome).

Uterus transplantation from live donors became a reality to treat infertility following a successful Swedish 2014 series, inspiring uterus transplantation centres and programmes worldwide. However, no case of livebirth via deceased donor uterus has, to our knowledge, been successfully achieved, raising doubts about its feasibility and viability, including whether the womb remains viable after prolonged ischaemia.

In September, 2016, a 32-year-old woman with congenital uterine absence (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser [MRKH] syndrome) underwent uterine transplantation in Hospital das Clínicas, University of São Paulo, Brazil, from a donor who died of subarachnoid haemorrhage. The donor was 45 years old and had three previous vaginal deliveries. The recipient had one in-vitro fertilisation cycle 4 months before transplant, which yielded eight cryopreserved blastocysts.

The recipient showed satisfactory postoperative recovery and was discharged after 8 days' observation in hospital. Immunosuppression was induced with prednisolone and thymoglobulin and continued via tacrolimus and mycophenalate mofetil (MMF), until 5 months post-transplantation, at which time azathioprine replaced MMF. First menstruation occurred 37 days post-transplantation, and regularly (every 26–32 days) thereafter. Pregnancy occurred after the first single embryo transfer 7 months post-transplantation. No blood flow velocity waveform abnormalities were detected by Doppler ultrasound of uterine arteries, fetal umbilical, or middle cerebral arteries, nor any fetal growth impairments during pregnancy. No rejection episodes occurred after transplantation or during gestation. Caesarean delivery occurred on Dec 15, 2017, near gestational week 36. The female baby weighed 2550 g at birth, appropriate for gestational age, with Apgar scores of 9 at 1 min, 10 at 5 min, and 10 at 10 min, and along with the mother remains healthy and developing normally 7 months post partum. The uterus was removed in the same surgical procedure as the livebirth and immunosuppressive therapy was suspended.

The results of the described operation confirm the concept of treating uterine infertility by transplanting an organ from a deceased donor, without the need for live donors or surgery on living people.

The experiment was funded by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo and Hospital das Clínicas University of São Paulo, Brazil.

 

Based  on FOR Edition (Focus on Reproduction)

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