A woman has undergone a uterus transplant for the first time in the United States.
The team of transplant surgeons and gynecological surgeons carried out the 9-hour operation at Cleveland Clinic last Wednesday, February 24. The identity of the 26-year old patient has not been publicly released. However, she was said to be in a “stable condition” by Thursday afternoon.
The procedure aims to enable women who were born without a uterus, or have undergone a hysterectomy (surgery to remove a woman's uterus after trauma or illness), to become pregnant and successfully give birth. Once the woman has one or two children, which will be delivered by cesarean section, she will undergo another procedure to remove the uterus.
An illustration of the uterus. Cleveland Clinic.
The world’s first uterus transplant was performed on a woman in Sweden in 2012. Nine women in Sweden have since received this operation. Promisingly, at least four of these women have gone on to have successful pregnancies.
Although the finer details of this operation have not yet been released, the Cleveland Clinic’s previous clinical trials for the operation suggest the donor was deceased. This is in contrast to the Swedish operations, all of whom received a uterus from a living donor, typically family members who have a compatible blood group.
The Cleveland Clinic has said that 3 to 5 percent of women worldwide suffer from Uterine Factor Infertility (UFI), where abnormalities in the uterus prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. Late last year, the clinic said they hope to carry out a total of 10 uterine transplants for their research study, with the hope of making it a common option for women with UFI in the future.