The baby girl was born almost a year ago to a 32-year-old woman who wasn't born with a uterus, according to the report detailed in the medical journal Lancet on Tuesday. The donor was a 45-year-old who died after a stroke that caused bleeding on the surface of the brain. The baby was delivered by caesarean section in December 2017. Almost a year later, mother and baby are both healthy.
The Journal cites 10 previous cases of failed uterus transplants from deceased donors, in the USA, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
She received five immunosuppression drugs to prevent her body rejecting the new organ, as well as other treatments to combat infection and blood clotting.
Before this breakthrough, women suffering from infertility due to congenital abnormalities, cancer, or other illnesses had few options aside from surrogacy or adoption.
While researchers in countries including Sweden and the United States have previously succeeded in transplanting wombs from living donors into women who have gone on to give birth, experts said the latest development was a significant advance.
In September 2016 she was given an unexpected chance of motherhood after undergoing the transplant at the Hospital das Clinicas in Sao Paulo.
Researchers in Turkey performed a uterine transplant in 2011 from a deceased donor but have not had any successful pregnancies.
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Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team's lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, said the woman - a 32-year-old psychologist - was apprehensive about the transplant. Doctors also removed the womb, partly so the woman would no longer have to take anti-rejection medicines. And just seven months after the operation, doctors began in vitro fertilization, through which the woman's own fertilized eggs - which had been harvested prior to the transplant surgery - were transferred to her new uterus.
"The pregnancy in the first attempt, with the transfer of only one embryo, surprised us, but we were confident of achieving gestation due to the quality of the staff of our human reproduction center that has worked for 15 years with good results", Ejzenberg says.
"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", he said.
At seven months and 20 days - when the case study report was submitted to The Lancet - the baby girl was continuing to breastfeed and weighed 7.2kg. The uterus is removed and immunosuppressants are stopped after birth, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The current need for live donors "is a major limitation as donors are rare, typically being willing and eligible family members or close friends", Dr Ejzenberg said.
But the 10 previous transplants from a dead donor have failed or resulted in miscarriage. Dr Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for almost eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is.
Richard Kennedy, president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, also welcomed the announcement but sounded a note of caution.