In September 2014 in Sweden the first baby was born from a uterine transplant! The mother was a 36-year-old woman suffering from Rokitansky syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by the absence of a uterus in a woman’s birth and affects about 1 in 5,000 women who, while having ovaries and can produce eggs, cannot conceive without a uterus.
In this particular woman, the uterus of a 61-year-old relative, who already had two children, was transplanted. This complex operation took place in 2013 at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, by a team of doctors under Dr. Mats Brännström.
The birth of this newborn was the culmination of more than ten years of research by the team of Dr. Mats Brännström, who in October 2014, a few days after this first birth, announced that there were two other pregnant women with a transplanted uterus, who were approaching in childbirth. Since then, three Swedish mothers have given birth thanks to this new way! This achievement opened a new path for thousands of women who either have uterine cancer or were born without it!
And in London the green light was given to perform the first ten uterine transplants. Doctors from Imperial College London (ICL) are planning the first transplant for 2016, hoping that the birth of the first baby will become a reality sometime in 2017 or 2018.
More than 100 women have been identified as suitable candidates for the transplants, which will be performed by a team of surgeons under Dr. Tz. Richard Smith, of the West London Gynecological Cancer Center at Queen Charlotte & Chelsea ICL.
According to Dr. Smith, the new technique gives hope for a normal pregnancy to these women, who until now had only the opportunity to adopt a child or have it with a surrogate mother.
More than 300 women had registered to participate in the ICL Uterine Transplant Program clinical trials, but only one in three met the criteria set by doctors.
These criteria include the woman being 25-38 years old, functioning ovaries, her own eggs and healthy body weight, as well as having a long-term partner.
The British surgeons, who have been preparing for this operation for 20 years, have decided to use matrices from corpse donors in transplants and not from living mothers, sisters or other relatives of young women as their Swedish colleagues did.
Babies will be born by caesarean section to protect the transplanted uterus from the trauma of a normal birth. Women will be able to start new pregnancy attempts six months after the birth of their first baby, otherwise the uterus will be removed to get rid of immunosuppression. This procedure offers hope to women around the world who suffer from infertility and is due solely to the cause of uterine insufficiency.