Wonders never cease to exist, especially the wonders of modern science for as technology and medical research advances at a phenomenal pace, newer and more effective methods are being discovered. Doctors have made immense strides in all branches of medicine.
The first heart transplant was done by Dr. Christian Bernard, a South African and American-trained doctor. However, The patient died after 18 days.
Ever since then heart transplants, bone marrow, liver and kidney transplants have become a common practice in medical science and thousands of lives have been saved in the process.
Now, In a sensational and revolutionary step, and what can best be described as wonderful news for women who can’t bear children, doctors have experimented in womb transplant in the USA.
Four women have successfully received new wombs from living donors at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.This is the first time living-donor womb transplants have been performed in the United States.
Of the four surgeries which took place between Sept. 14 and Sept. 22, three of the womb transplants were removed after tests determined the organs were not receiving normal blood flow. One woman still has her transplanted uterus and has shown no signs of rejection so far.
Uterus transplants with live donors will go a long way in reproductive medicine as it is proving very successful. Sweden was the pioneer to start this and in five out of nine cases recipients have given birth to healthy babies and one woman is pregnant for the second time.
Some women suffer from what is known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome and are born without a uterus. About one in 4,500 women in the U.S. are estimated to suffer from this.
Dr. Giuliano Testa, the lead surgeon and surgical chief of abdominal transplantation at Baylor, acknowledges that despite the fact that these results so far, while disappointing, still show tremendous progress.
From the science perspective, indeed this is a great day for mothers to be for it will give hope to many who thought they would never have a child.
This is the second time a hospital in the U.S. has attempted womb transplants. In February, the Cleveland Clinic performed the first uterus transplant in the U.S.; the organ was from a deceased donor. Less than two weeks after the transplant, the recipient, Lindsey McFarland, acquired an infection and the transplant had to be removed.
The Cleveland Clinic then put its program on pause.s transplants are estimated to cost from $150,000 to over $500,000, and since they are still experimental, they are not usually covered by insurance.
The procedure is very complicated and lengthy as it took about five hours for the wombs to be removed from the donors, and another five to transplant.
Besides the four surgeons of Baylor, the team was supported by two Swedish surgeons with womb transplant experience, two anesthesiologists, and seven operating room nurses.
The two Swedish doctors were from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg and were of the first surgical team in the world to perform successful womb transplants.
They wanted to share their experience and assist other teams throughout the world. Dr. Liza Johannesson, one of the doctors from Sahlgrenska University Hospital who assisted Baylor with their surgeries. “If no one can repeat it, it’s not worth anything. We owe it to the patients to be open.” Johannesson says her team will continue to assist Baylor with further womb transplant procedures.
It is estimated that it will take the women about three months to get back to normal daily activity. In six to 12 months, a woman with a successful uterus transplant can attempt in vitro fertilization (IVF).
(Since the women’s ovaries are not connected to their wombs, IVF is required if she wants to get pregnant.) Because all organ transplants require recipients to take extremely powerful anti-rejection injections and typically, the uterus is removed after they’ve had two children.
Despite the setback Dr. Testa is determined to carry out operations and they plan to conduct 10 experiments .The Baylor team is assessing the results from the first four surgeries before moving forward with the other six.
This is indeed a major breakthrough in reproductive science and with time such dedicated and sincere doctors will eventually become successful giving great hopes to mothers to be all over the world.