For only the second time worldwide, the Cleveland Clinic delivered a baby from a uterus that had been transplanted from a deceased donor.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Everything went wonderfully with the delivery, the mother and baby girl are doing great,” Cleveland Clinic maternal fetal medicine specialist Uma Perni, M.D., said. “It’s important to remember this is still research. The field of uterus transplantation is rapidly evolving, and it’s exciting to see what the options may be for women in the future.”
Both the transplant and birth are part of an on-going clinical trial called Uterine Transplantation for the Treatment of Uterine Factor Infertility. It's estimated that 1 in 500 women of child-bearing age are affected by the condition worldwide.
The research team – comprised of specialists in transplant surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, fertility, neonatology, bioethics, psychiatry, nursing, anesthesiology, infectious disease, interventional radiology, patient advocacy and social work – delivered a baby girl via cesarean section last month. The uterus, from a deceased donor, had been transplanted in 2017. In 2018, the mother, who is in her mid-30s, became pregnant through in vitro fertilization.
“It was amazing how perfectly normal this delivery was, considering how extraordinary the occasion,” Cleveland Clinic transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis, M.D., Ph. D. said. “Through this research, we aim to make these extraordinary events, ordinary for the women who choose this option. We are grateful to the donor and her family, their generosity allowed our patient's dream to come true and a new baby to be born.”
Since Cleveland Clinic began the trial, five uterus transplants have been completed. Three of the transplants were successful and two resulted in hysterectomies. Right now, two women are waiting for embryo transfers, while several more candidates are listed for transplant.
The goal is to enroll ten women between 21 and 39 years old. Unlike similar research efforts in the U.S., Cleveland Clinic’s protocol calls for the transplanted uterus to come from a deceased donor in order to eliminate risk to a healthy, living donor.
For more information about Cleveland Clinic’s uterine transplant program, visit their website.