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Womb Transplant

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GS 3 ||Science & Technology ||Biotechnology ||Reproduction & Biotechnology

Why In NEWS?

A woman in Brazil who received a womb transplant from a deceased donor has given birth to a baby girl in the first successful case of its kind.

Facts

  • The surgery took place in September 2016. The recipient of the uterus was a 32 year-old woman born without a uterus as a result of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.
  • She had one in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycle four months before the transplant, resulting in eight fertilised eggs which were cryopreserved(-80 degree celcius)
  • The donor was 45 years old and died of subarachnoid haemorrhage — a type of stroke involving bleeding on the surface of the brain.
  • The uterus was removed from the donor and then transplanted into the recipient in surgery lasting 10.5 hours.
  • The surgery involved connecting the donor uterus’ and recipient’s veins and arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.
  • She received five immune suppression drugs, as well as antimicrobials, anti-blood clotting treatment and aspirin while in hospital.
  • Five months after transplantation, the uterus showed no signs of rejection, ultrasound scans showed no anomalies, and the recipient was having regular menstruation.
  • The fertilised eggs were implanted after seven months.
  • Ten days after implantation, the recipient was confirmed to be pregnant.
  • The baby girl was born via caesarean section at 35 weeks and three days.
  • The transplanted uterus was removed during the caesarean section and showed no anomalies.

Infertility

Infertility affects around 10 to 15 percent of couples of reproductive age worldwide. Of this group, around one in 500 women have uterine problems, for example, to a malformation, hysterectomy, or infection — that prevent them from becoming pregnant and carrying a child to term.

Uses

  • Uterus transplants from deceased donors are feasible and may open access for all women with uterine infertility, without the need for live donors.
  • There have been 39 womb transplants using a live donor, including mothers donating their womb to their daughter, resulting in 11 babies.
  • But the 10 previous transplants from a dead donor have failed or resulted in
  • Currently, uterus donation is only available for women with family members who are willing to donate.
  • It comes after 10 previously known cases of uterus transplants from deceased donors — in the United States, the Czech Republic and Turkey — failed to produce a live birth.

Transplantation Terminology

  • Autograft: transplantation of tissue excised from one place and grafted to another in the same individual.
  • Syngraft (isograft): transplantation of tissue excised from one individual and grafted to another who is identical genetically.
  • Allograft (homograft): transplantation of tissue excised from one individual and grafted to another of the same species.
  • Xenograft (heterograft): transplantation of tissue excised from one individual and grafted to another of a different species.
  • Orthotopic graft: transplantation to an anatomically correct position in the recipient.
  • Heterotopic graft: transplantation to an unnatural position.