UPDATE TO ORIGINAL STORY:
Statement from Cleveland Clinic
March 9, 2016 Update on 1st Uterus Transplant
We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus.
On February 25, Cleveland Clinic announced the first uterus transplant as part of a clinical study for women who suffer from uterine factor infertility. At this time, the circumstance of the complication is under review and more information will be shared as it becomes available.
There is a known risk in solid organ transplantation that the transplanted organ may have to be removed should a complication arise. The medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient.
While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.
The study, which has been planned to include 10 women, is still ongoing with a commitment to the advancement of medical research to provide an additional option for women and their families.”
Statement from Lindsey
“I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”
Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed the first uterus transplant in the United States on a 26-year-old, using a uterus from a deceased organ donor.
The operation took 9 hours and the woman is in stable condition.
The procedure is to help women who had their uterus removed, or were born without one.
Following a transplant, the woman needs to wait a year before trying to become pregnant.
Then she will need in vitro fertilization to become pregnant.
Before the transplant, the patient had eggs removed surgically, fertilized with her husband’s sperm and frozen.
The embryos will be transferred into her uterus.
If the procedure is successful, any children will be born by cesarean section and the mother will have the transplanted uterus removed after having one or two babies.
The transplant will be temporary: The uterus will be removed after the recipient has had one or two babies, so she can stop taking anti-rejection drugs.
The Cleveland hospital’s ethics panel has given it permission to perform the procedure 10 times, as an experiment.
Officials will then decide whether to continue, and whether to offer the operation as a standard procedure. The clinic is still screening women who may be candidates for the operation.
The leader of the surgical team is Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who has performed 4,000 to 5,000 transplants of kidneys, livers and other abdominal organs.
To prepare for uterus transplants, he traveled to Sweden and worked with doctors at the University of Gothenburg, the only ones in the world to have performed the procedure successfully so far.
About 50,000 women in the United States are thought to be candidates for transplanted uteruses.
THE DONOR Surgeons remove the uterus, cervix and part of the vagina from an organ donor who has recently died, along with the small uterine vessels that carry blood to the organ. The uterus can survive outside the body for at least six to eight hours if kept cold.
THE RECIPIENT The donor’s uterus is connected to the recipient’s vagina and the uterine vessels are redirected to large blood vessels running outside the pelvis. The recipient’s ovaries are left in place, and if she has any remnant fallopian tubes, they are not connected to the transplant. The recipient will wait a year to heal before having in vitro fertilization.
Sources: Dr. Tommaso Falcone, Cleveland Clinic; BioDigital
By The New York Times
In an interview in October, Dr. Tzakis said that although women without a uterus could adopt children or hire surrogates to carry a pregnancy for them, many find those options unacceptable “for reasons that are personal, cultural or religious.”
At that time, a 26-year-old woman who was being screened as a potential candidate explained why she wanted a chance to become pregnant and give birth.
“I crave that experience,” she said. “I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel the baby move. That is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.”
Link to: Cleveland Clinic: http://www.clevandclinic.org
A version of this article appears in print on February 26, 2016, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: National Briefing | Midwest; Ohio: Uterus Transplant Is First in United States.
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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications and Healthy Within Network (HWN). This is her blog.
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