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France Reports First Successful Birth After Uterine Transplant

France Reports First Successful Birth After Uterine Transplant

People are familiar with success stories involving liver, kidney, or heart transplants. But have you heard about uterine transplants? Medical experts say that this ground-breaking procedure gives women who have uterine factor infertility a chance to fulfill their dream of bearing a child. How successful is a uterine transplant operation, and is it worth the risk? Find out here.

Deborah and Her Success Story

Just outside Paris, a woman named “Deborah,” recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl weighing 1.85 kilograms. Mother and child made history, as their case is the first-ever successful birth following a uterine transplant in France.

Reports1 say that the now 36-year-old Deborah was born with Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster–Hauser Syndrome (Rokitansky Syndrome), a rare congenital malformation that results in a missing uterus.

In March 2019, Deborah received the uterus of her 57-year old mother. And almost 2 years later, she delivered her baby with the help of the same medical team who performed the transplant.

Birth After Uterine Transplant, Rare But Not Impossible

Deborah’s case might be the first in France, but the world’s first successful birth after uterine transplant happened in Sweden back in 2014.

After that, multiple experimental studies followed. Women with Rokitansky Syndrome (or other uterine factor infertility) received a uterus from a live donor, usually someone who already gave birth to a few babies before.

Other cases, such as those in Brazil and North America, involved women who received a uterus from recently deceased donors. Both women also successfully had live births.

Uterine Transplant: A Cutting-Edge, But Complex Procedure

The success stories of healthy births following a transplant makes it seem like the procedures are simple, but experts say the steps are complicated.

According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, giving birth after a uterine transplant involves 3 stages:

Pre-Uterus Transplant

The couple enrolls and enters screening. Once all set, they undergo in vitro fertilization, where doctors harvest the egg cells and fertilize them in the laboratory. Embryos will then be cryopreserved as they will be implanted after transplantation.

Uterus Transplant

Afterward, the woman enlists for a transplant. The uterus may come from a live or recently deceased donor.

uterine transplant

Post-Uterus Transplant

In the post-uterus transplant, the woman receives immunosuppressant medications, which lower their immune system. This step is crucial as it helps prevent organ rejection.

After her recovery, the medical team implants a single embryo into the transplanted uterus. Usually, this step takes place after 6 to 12 months, depending on the woman’s overall condition and the transplanted uterus’s health status.

Once the woman gets pregnant, the medical team will closely monitor her and the baby until she delivers via Caesarean-section (usually at 37th to 39th week).

Reminders on Uterine Transplant:

The policies may vary depending on where the woman gets the procedure. For instance, in the University of Pennsylvania, the participant can have 2 childbirths.

Afterwards, they will remove the uterus (hysterectomy) and stop the immunosuppressive drugs.

Is It Worth The Risk?

Some doctors do not recommend uterine transplantation because of its potential physical and emotional health risks.

Physically, organ transplantation can lead to blood loss, infection, organ rejection, and the development of adverse reactions from immunosuppressants.

Secondly, doctors almost always advise hysterectomy after 1 to 2 pregnancies. This is because experts do not recommend long-term intake of anti-rejection drugs for a non-life-threatening condition.

uterine transplant

Additionally, a successful uterine transplantation does not guarantee a live birth. This can cause certain emotional concerns for the woman and her family.

Doctors also remind interested parties that the transplant is expensive, and they likewise need to prepare for the added cost of in vitro fertilization.

Then again, we cannot discount the success stories like that of Deborah’s, whose dream of becoming a mother came true because of this cutting-edge procedure.

Learn more about the latest health news, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1. First baby born after uterus transplant in France
https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/scitech/science/776366/first-baby-born-after-uterus-transplant-in-france/story/?utm_source=GMANews&utm_medium=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0Eqo-OzCjzXinEIC9fQkYagrN9DqvOgbk7Bv0_NEc7BgARD6z-D0b8kZY
Accessed February 18, 2021

First live birth after uterus transplantation in the Middle East
https://mefj.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s43043-020-00041-4#:~:text=The%20first%20live%20birth%20after,for%20absolute%20uterine%20factor%20infertility.
Accessed February 18, 2021

Livebirth after uterus transplantation from a deceased donor in a recipient with uterine infertility
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31766-5/fulltext
Accessed February 18, 2021

For the First Time in North America, a Woman Gives Birth After Uterus Transplant From a Deceased Donor
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/for-the-first-time-in-north-america-woman-gives-birth-after-uterus-transplant-from-deceased-donor/
Accessed February 18, 2021

Penn Uterus Transplant Program
https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/find-a-program-or-service/penn-fertility-care/uterus-transplant
Accessed February 18, 2021

Uterine transplant: This prospect for pregnancy is not worth the risks
https://utswmed.org/medblog/uterine-transplant-motherhood/
Accessed February 18, 2021

Picture of the author
Medical reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Updated Feb 18
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