A woman who received a uterus transplant last year was able to give birth to a healthy baby boy.  It becomes the first birth in America where the mother had a transplanted uterus.

The mother was born without a uterus. Last September she received a womb and cervix from a living donor. She wanted to have a child, and though it took about a year, she was able to do so. This proves that science can give women the opportunity to become mothers even if they are not biologically able to do so.

“We are very humbled by understanding the depth of the desire of these women to carry their own pregnancy,” said Dr. Giuliano Testa, principal investigator for the uterine transplant clinical trial at Baylor.

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First baby boy in America to be born to a mother with a uterus transplant. Image credit: ABC

There have been only eight birth under these circumstances worldwide

About 1 in 500 women are born with non-functioning or non-existent uteruses. This condition is known as absolute uterine factor infertility, and it is completely irreversible. Women with this condition have been unable to conceive kids. However, science is trying to change this situation to give women the opportunity to carry a child and give births successfully.

There have been other seven successful births of women with transplanted uterus worldwide before this case in Dallas, Texas. The mother of the baby is the first person in America to give birth under this conditions, but other seven women in the same study are on their way to receive a transplant or get pregnant.

To be precise, 1 of them is already pregnant but three other pregnancies failed, and the organs had to be removed. The study of the Baylor University Medical Center aimed to find new infertility treatments options.

The mother received her transplant last September at Baylor University Medical Center, and she gave birth last month. The Baylor University Medical Center officials said that the mother and the baby boy are fine and healthy. She was allowed to go home. The baby remains in the hospital for monitoring.

Doctors believe this milestone means a lot for thousands of women who are unable to get pregnant. Baylor transplant specialist Dr. Giuliano Testa described this procedure as “humbling,” and said that it changed many things he thought were set.

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How the uterus transplant works. Image credit: Daily Mail.

This expensive and risky procedure doesn’t guarantee a successful delivery

This medical advance is close to a miracle. However, it is not an easy one it has some essential conditions. Once the uterus is transplanted, the woman who receives it can deliver one or two babies. Then the organ must be removed. The mother can receive a previously frozen embryo as soon as 12 months after her transplant.

This is a really expensive procedure. It requires a significant team of specialists and surgeries for the donor and the recipient. Though there are already some cases of women with uterus transplants that can give birth, this procedure is not likely to become very popular shortly.

As well, doctors are still trying to find a way to reduce risks for both the donor and the recipient. It is not 100 percent sure that the woman who receives the transplant will be able to deliver a child successfully.

The first successful birth under these conditions occurred in 2014, at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. A 36-year-old woman with infertility was able to give birth to a baby after receiving a uterus transplant from a 61-year-old, unrelated donor.

Ever since, the Swedish university has given the opportunity to seven other women to carry and deliver a child. The first mother-daughter womb transplant was also performed in Sweden. The Baylor medical team who pursued the clinical tried supported their research on the Swedish cases.

In February 2016, there was an attempt to achieve this in the Cleveland Clinic. They completed the uterus transplant with success but the woman developed complications, and the organ had to be removed.

How does this procedure work?

Transplanting a uterus is quite complicated. The woman who receives it must have healthy and working ovaries. Before having the surgery, the patient must undergo in-vitro fertilization to retrieve eggs from her ovaries. Her eggs are then fertilized with the sperm in a lab. A year after the transplant, the woman must be checked by doctors to know if her body has accepted the uterus and cervix transplant.

If the body accepts the organs, then an embryo is transferred to the transplanted uterus. The pregnancy is closely monitored until the cesarean delivery. The new uterus is not meant to be permanent in the recipient’s body.

The patient during the whole time must take anti-rejection drugs that cause damages in the long run. After the first or second delivery, the organ needs to be removed.

Source: USA Today