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Meet the First Baby in the US to Be Born From the Uterus of a Deceased Donor

This marks just the second time worldwide that the procedure has been successfully carried out.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
July 10, 2019
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Image: iStock

The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio has delivered the first baby in the US via a womb transplant from a deceased donor. This marks just the second time worldwide that the procedure has been successfully carried out.

The transplant and birth are part of an ongoing clinical trial, Uterine Transplantation for the Treatment of Uterine Factor Infertility, at Cleveland Clinic, offering hope to women worldwide who are unable to have a baby due to uterine factor infertility. One in 500 women of child bearing age worldwide are affected by this irreversible condition.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Everything went wonderfully with the delivery; the mother and baby girl are doing great,” says Uma Perni, MD, Cleveland Clinic maternal fetal medicine specialist. “It’s important to remember this is still research. The field of uterus transplantation is rapidly evolving, and it’s exciting to see what the options may be for women in the future.”

Image: Cleveland Clinic

The uterus from a deceased donor was transplanted back in 2017. In 2018, the mother, who is in her mid-30s, became pregnant using IVF. The baby girl was born in June via c-section. “It was amazing how perfectly normal this delivery was, considering how extraordinary the occasion,” says Cleveland Clinic transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis, MD, PhD. “Through this research, we aim to make these extraordinary events ordinary for the women who choose this option. We are grateful to the donor and her family, their generosity allowed our patient’s dream to come true and a new baby to be born.”

Since the Cleveland Clinic began the clinical trial, the team of doctors and researchers has completed five uterus transplants; three transplants were successful and two resulted in hysterectomies. Currently, two women are awaiting embryo transfers, while several more candidates are listed for transplant, the news release states. They hope to enroll 10 women between the ages of 21 and 39 years old. Unlike similar research efforts in the country, Cleveland Clinic’s protocol calls for the transplanted uterus to come from a deceased donor in order to eliminate risk to a healthy, living donor.

Last December, the world welcomed the first baby born via uterus transplant from a deceased donor. The baby girl was born in Brazil via c-section. Prior to both of these successful transplants, there have been a handful of failed attempts using transplants from deceased donors, including procedures in the US, the Czech Republic and Turkey, according to a Reuters report. Both of these success stories show the procedure is possible, and could mean a larger pool of donors for women who have uterine infertility.

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