The patient was a 32-year-old woman with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes the vagina or uterus to either under-develop or not develop at all. Seven months after the surgery, an embryo was implanted and her pregnancy was confirmed. Ten deceased donor uterus transplants had been attempted and failed in the US, Czech Republic and Turkey.
The use of a deceased donor is a significant achievement that could greatly increase access to the procedure, said Stefan Tullius, chief of transplant surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has participated in living donor uterus transplant surgery.
The current norm for receiving a womb transplant is that the organ would come from a live family member willing to donate it. "The numbers of people willing to donate organs upon their own deaths are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population".
"The successful case in our service brings hope to other centers that believe in this type of transplant", Ejzenberg said in an email to TIME. However, a woman who received a live uterine transplant gave birth to a baby boy in 2017, making it a first for the U.S. He also tried the procedure on a second Brazilian woman, but she had to have the uterus removed two days after the operation because of complications.
"When a transplant is dome from a live donor, there is a greater responsibility towards both the donor and recipient, but in a dead body the doctors can be a bit relaxed", Ms Sharma said.
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The researchers do point out that the outcomes and effects of donations from live and deceased donors haven't been compared yet.
The donor uterus was removed during delivery, Ejzenberg says, since the team's study involved only one birth per mother.
In a landmark move, a baby in Brazil has been born to a woman with a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor.
Ultrasound scans showed no abnormalities and she was menstruating regularly.
Surgeons spent 10.5 hours plumbing in the organ by connecting veins, arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals.
"I don't know that they're highlighted enough when we're celebrating these kind of breakthroughs", she said.
Five months was given to ensure that the uterus transplant was successful.
Six weeks after the uterine transplant, which was performed in 2016, the Brazilian woman started having periods again. "Infertility can have a devastating impact upon couples, particularly for women with absolute uterine factor infertility, for which there has been no effective treatment to date and - for some of these women, womb transplantation is the only way they can carry a pregnancy", stated Mr J Richard Smith, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Clinical Lead at Womb Transplant UK.