doctors perform second uterus transplant

published on Wednesday 19 October 2022 at 11:07 a.m

“About 80 uterus transplants have been performed so far worldwide,” according to the professor who performed the operation.

Doctors have successfully performed a uterus transplant for the second time in France. A first woman had been transplanted in 2019.

She is now expecting her second child.

“The transplant on this new 36-year-old patient was performed from her older sister’s uterus using minimally invasive surgery,” explainedAFP Professor Jean-Marc Ayoubi, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at the Foch Hospital in Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine). This nearly 18-hour uterus transplant took place a month ago.

The patient who benefited from the transplant had Rokitansky Syndrome (MRKH), which is responsible for infertility due to uterine agenesis (she was born without a uterus) and which affects approximately one in 4,000 female births. The uterus is the gestational organ: it is there that the embryo develops. Without this organ, pregnancy is not possible.

In March 2019, Professor Ayoubi and his team had already performed a first transplant on a woman, Déborah Berlioz, who suffers from the same syndrome. She received her mother’s womb and later became pregnant through an embryo transfer.

“About 80 uterus transplants have been performed so far worldwide”, says Professor Ayoubi. “You need a living donor, volunteer and related (either family or a close friend) and of course we do immunological compatibility tests,” he adds.

After the success of the first transplant, Covid had slowed down his research project that started more than 15 years ago and result of an international collaboration with the team of Professor Mats Branstrumfrom Gothenburg University (Sweden).

For the teams at Foch Hospital, this new medical intervention brings hope to patients born without a uterus or with uterine infertility caused by a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or a non-functional uterus.

Déborah Berlioz, 37, is expecting her second child. After the birth, scheduled for next March, the transplanted uterus will be removed, requiring her to undergo anti-rejection therapy.

“The clinical trial that I participated in allowed a maximum of two pregnancies in five years”she toldAFP. After a first “miracle” pregnancy, she is delighted to be expecting a second “bonus” baby: “Before the transplant, any hope of one day becoming pregnant was totally forbidden for me”.

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