Blush: Uterine transplants

A baby was born in the US last week.

Not all that newsworthy, is it?

How about: A woman born without a uterus gave birth to a baby in the US last week.

That’s super incredible.

Ultrasound of Dragon at 19 weeks.

She achieved this by transplant – a donor gave their uterus (and this can be a live or deceased donor) and it was implanted into the woman. In the case of the US birth, it was part of a study conducted by Baylor University, and the recipient had to have healthy ovaries, undergo IVF, and retrieve fertilized eggs that would then be implanted into the transplanted uterus a year after the operation.

Uterine transplants have been done in other countries, too. A woman in Sweden gave birth to a healthy baby boy in 2014, and they got pregnant via IVF a year after the operation. (The woman in question had Rokitansky syndrome, and was born without a uterus or vagina.) The uterus came from a post-menopausal woman, which makes this pregnancy even more interesting, as it not only proved that a pregnancy can occur in a transplanted uterus, but the uterus isn’t affected by menopause.

Anti-rejection drugs must be taken while the uterus is in use (not just while pregnant), and these start causing complications after two pregnancies, so the uterus needs to be removed at that time.

Still, this is pretty incredible, and opens up some pretty incredible opportunities for women both born without a uterus or who have needed their uterus removed (cancer, etc reasons).

What is the next step?

Working towards keeping the uterus for longer, not requiring anti-rejection drugs, transplanting ovaries as well, not requiring IVF to get pregnant…

Any others?

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