Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cleveland surgeons perform nation's first uterus transplant

CLEVELAND — Surgeons in Cleveland say they have performed the nation's first uterus transplant, a new frontier that aims to give women who lack wombs a chance at pregnancy.

In a statement Thursday, the Cleveland Clinic said the nine-hour surgery was performed a day earlier on a 26-year-old woman, using a uterus from a deceased donor.

The hospital had long been planning for such a surgery, announcing last fall a clinical trial that would attempt 10 transplants. The hospital said it wouldn't release any more details until a news conference next week, except to say the woman's condition was stable.

Other countries have tried womb transplants — Sweden reported the first successful birth in 2014, with a total of five healthy babies so far. Doctors there say the still-experimental treatment might be an alternative for some of the thousands of women unable to have children because they were born without a uterus or lost it to disease.

Others have questioned whether such an extreme step would be a realistic option for many women. It's fraught with medical risk, including rejection of the transplant and having to take potent immune-suppressing drugs for a transplant that, unlike patients who receive a donated kidney or heart, isn't life-saving.

The Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Andreas Tzakis said the risks aren't greater than those for other transplants but is considered life-enhancing, like transplants of the face or hand.

One important difference: "Unlike any other transplants, they are 'ephemeral,' " Tzakis said last year in a statement announcing the study. "They are not intended to last for the duration of the recipient's life, but will be maintained for only as long as is necessary to produce one or two children."

Removing a uterus from a deceased donor requires more than a normal hysterectomy, as the major arteries also must be removed. The womb and blood vessels are sewn inside the recipient's pelvis. Before closing the abdomen, surgeons check for good blood flow and that the attachment to the ligaments is strong enough to maintain a pregnancy.

If a woman is approved for a transplant in the study, she would first have to have eggs removed from her ovaries, like is done for in vitro fertilization, and then freeze the embryos. Those could be implanted only 12 months after the transplant heals, if it's successful.

The hospital said it would attempt transplants in women with what's called uterine factor infertility, meaning they were born without a uterus or with uterine abnormalities that block pregnancy.

Cleveland surgeons perform nation's first uterus transplant 02/25/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Pinellas Construction Licensing Board should be abolished

    Editorials

    There are essentially two facts that need to be understood about the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board: It is a one-of-a-kind agency in Florida without any accountability to the state or the county. And to be kind, for years it was run haphazardly as an independent fiefdom, with missing financial records, …

    The only way to restore faith and sanity to the process is to abolish the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and follow the lead of Hillsborough and other counties that utilize building departments and law enforcement to regulate contractors.
  2. 11 Pasco County schools get schedule changes to make up missed time from Irma

    Blogs

    First, the good news. Pasco County families won't see their Thanksgiving break shortened to make up time missed from school during Hurricane Irma. 

    Pasco County teachers welcomed back their students on Monday, after six days off for Hurricane Irma.
  3. Editorial: Immigration deal may be imperfect, but compromise should be encouraged

    Editorials

    It is obviously premature to congratulate President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats on finding an incremental immigration solution, but their willingness to discuss a deal for America's Dreamers is a good sign. Why is that? Because it has drawn howls of protest from the more extreme factions of both political …

  4. Four Largo city employees lose jobs for not working during Hurricane Irma

    Local Government

    LARGO — Four public works employees resigned or were fired because they didn't show up to work during Hurricane Irma.

    Four public works employees resigned or were fired because they didn't show up to work during Hurricane Irma. The employees, two of whom were fired and two resigned, said they decided to be with their families considering the magnitude of the storm. But City Manager Henry Schubert said Thursday most city employees are required to be present during an emergency. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  5. Aaron Hernandez lawyer: Brain showed 'severe' case of CTE

    Bucs

    BOSTON — Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]