Doctors at Baylor University say a woman born without a uterus has delivered a baby after a successful transplant, the first time the surgery has worked outside of the Swedish hospital that pioneered the procedure.
by David Compa
For women with uterine factor infertility who want to be mothers, the calculus has always been heartbreakingly simple: No uterus means no pregnancy. The equation changed drastically in 2014, when Swedish doctors delivered a healthy 3.9-pound baby that was the result of a successful uterus transplant. Now, doctors at Baylor University say a woman born without a uterus has delivered a baby after a successful transplant, the first time the surgery has worked outside of the Swedish hospital that pioneered the procedure. [Read more: Penn Medicine will offer uterine transplants] The success marked another step forward for transplant surgery aimed at improving a person’s life, not just saving it. Doctors have performed penis transplants for wounded troops, given a young boy two new hands and given a new nose, lips, palate, eyelids and jaw to a woman who was gruesomely disfigured after she was shot in the face. The fact that the uterus transplant success in Sweden can be replicated is a promising sign for thousands of women who have been unable to conceive. And doctors at Baylor have sought to expand the limits of the procedure, using donated uteri that didn’t come from family members and, in some cases, organs that came from cadavers. “To make the field grow and expand and have the procedure come out to more women, it has to be reproduced,” said Liza Johannesson, a uterus transplant surgeon who left the Swedish team to join Baylor’s group, told the New York Times. “It was a very exciting birth. I’ve seen so many births and delivered so many babies, but this was a very special one.” Baylor’s clinical trial was designed to include 10 women. Eight, including the new mother, have received the transplants so far. One recipient is pregnant, and two are trying to conceive. Four others had transplants that failed, and the organs had to be surgically removed. The surgeries differ from other transplants in one major way: They’re not intended to be permanent. Instead, they give a woman enough time to conceive a child. In vitro fertilized eggs are transferred to the woman’s womb, and after the baby is born, the uterus is removed via surgery. That means the patient