What is Uterus transplantation?
Uterus transplant starts with the uterus removal surgery from the donor. A healthy uterus is transplanted into a patient whose uterus is absent or diseased in this surgical procedure. Uterus transplant is a treatment for infertility.
Uterus transplant can be done after undergoing hysterectomy following injury, infection, Uterus cancer, or other health problems. The functions of the uterus are to nurture the fetus till the baby is mature enough for birth. Uterus transplant helps in childbirth.
What are the Facts of Uterus Transplantation?
The aim of the procedure is to allow women with absolute uterine factor infertility to conceive. Absolute Uterine factor infertility is caused due to surgical absence of the uterus or the presence of a non-functional uterus.
All women who receive a uterus transplant have to freeze their eggs before the surgery. They will then need to wait for a year after the operation for in vitro fertilization. Fertilized eggs will be implanted one at a time until pregnancy occurs, and the women would have cesarean deliveries to avoid any excess stress on the transplanted uterus. The women will face the usual potential complications from an organ transplant, including bleeding and infection. They will be given antirejection drugs as long as the uterus is in them. After having children, the uterus will be removed.
Uterus Transplant is an Alternative for Surrogacy:
Uterus transplant is a procedure to enable women without a uterus, or non-functional uterus or damaged uterus to become pregnant. The operation involves transplanting a uterus from a living or deceased donor to a recipient. Uterus transplantation is a form of transplant, a real and valid alternate to adoption or Surrogacy. Organ transplants will be successful only if the organ works properly in the host’s body. But for a uterus transplant, success is defined more narrowly: not only does the uterus have to work, but the woman has to give birth to a healthy baby. Uterus transplant will serve as an alternative to surrogacy for people who want to give birth and experience their own pregnancy.
Uterus transplantation is a complex procedure and is surrounded by medical and psychological implications. Transplantation of a uterus, unlike any other organ transplantation, involves the recipient, donor, partner of the recipient, and the possible future child.
Who Needs A Uterus Transplant?
- Women who are born without a uterus but have their intact native ovaries – MRKH SYNDROM.
- Women who lost their uterus (surgical removal of the uterus) due to conditions like fibroids and cancer.
- Women with uterine malformations or hypoplastic uterus.
- Women with non-functional uterus due to damage caused by radiation exposure and intrauterine adhesions.
- Women between 18-40 years of age, married or having a stable partner, with a good general health condition.
Who Can Be A Donor?
Any healthy woman can be a donor but as the transplant comes with serious risks and side effects, it is recommended that the donor must be a close relative.
- The uterus to be transplanted will be obtained from a living related donor or cadaveric donor.
- The uterus will be matched to the subject using a number of selection parameters – to reduce the chance of rejection.
- Women must be between 40-60 years of age.
- Women who are younger than 40 years of age, who have had successful pregnancies and have undergone permanent sterilization.
- Women with a good health condition and must have no history of diabetes or hypertension, have a BMI of less than 30, have had at least one full-term delivery, and be cancer-free for at least five years.
How is uterus transplantation performed?
Uterus with its blood supply is removed from the donor and transplanted to the recipient through the microvascular anastomosis. Before performing the transplant surgery; the recipient will undergo controlled ovarian hyperstimulation and egg collection before the transplant surgery.
Simultaneously, the recipient husband’s sperm and recipients’ egg is fertilized by IVF-ICSI, Embryo cryopreservation will be performed in order to use them for embryo transfer after the successful uterus transplantation.
A life-enhancing procedure
The ability to get a uterus transplant will be a huge help for many women who want to conceive. Research suggests Trusted Source that for some women with AUFI, infertility may cause emotional distress, strain to their relationships, or challenges to their sense of identity and control. For those women who have AUFI, uterine transplants may not be life-saving, but they’re life-enhancing.
What are the risks and complications of a Uterus Transplant?
Like all organ transplant surgeries, the reaction of the recipient’s body towards the transplanted uterus is unpredictable. Some complications like infection, failed blood supply, or immune system rejection are common in a uterus transplant. Uterus transplant recipients also require immunosuppressive therapy (medication that weakens the body’s immune system, in hopes of it not rejecting the foreign uterus), which can be life-threatening.
Uterus transplantation is not meant to be permanent. In case the transplant is successful, taking anti-rejection drugs for a long period of time is not advisable. Recipients of uterus transplants should take immunosuppressive drugs to stop their bodies from rejecting the organ. Those drugs raise the transplant recipient’s risk for kidney disease or other health problems. Therefore patients must have a hysterectomy at some point after one or two pregnancies.
Care at Treatment Possible
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Frequently Asked Questions:
When was the first uterus transplant performed?
First successful uterus transplant with live birth happened in Sweden in 2014 and so far 72 cases of uterine transplantation were done globally, out of which 18 live births are reported.
Does the uterus remain implanted after the baby is born?
The uterus will be removed after childbearing is complete.
What are the risks of having a uterus transplant?
The risks primarily include bleeding and infection and additional risks include exposure to immunosuppressive medications. These can cause diabetes and damage the kidney in some organ transplant recipients, therefore patients are advised to have a hysterectomy after one or two pregnancies.