NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Doctors in Dallas are celebrating the birth of the first baby in the United States born to a mother with a transplanted uterus.
It’s being described as a landmark U.S. clinical trial, but there are many issues still to be resolved.
While it was the first case in the U.S., there have been five such births in Sweden. These cases are meant to be temporary transplants, involving either living or deceased donors with health risks to both the woman and the developing baby.
But it’s hard to argue with the results.
Baylor University released video of the birth of the baby born to a mother who had a uterus transplant. Doctors delivered the baby in a scheduled cesarean section.
“When you see this boy you feel like you’ve done something beautiful,” transplant surgeon Dr. Giuliano Testa said.
“There was something about this that was so special,” Baylor Medical Center Gynecologist Dr. Robert Gunby Jr. said. “There was something so exciting about this because the parents were so excited.”
The mother, who wishes to maintain her privacy, has what’s called Absolute Uterine Factor Infertility which affects about one in every 500 women. She underwent the transplant about a year ago.
“As young women, they’re told they never have a chance of having their own babies, carrying those babies, and this is providing women home,” Baylor University Medical Center Gynecologist Dr. E. Colin Koon said.
Doctors said the womb came from a living donor who doesn’t know the patient. But unlike other organ transplants, this uterus was meant to be removed after the woman is done having children to minimize the significant health risks of immuno-suppressing drugs. Baylor doctors say the baby does not appear to have been harmed by the anti-rejection drugs.
“It was sort of what we expected, even though suppressive drugs have some effect on the mom,” Dr. Gunby Jr. said.
Doctors are currently monitoring the baby, say he’s breathing and eating well. The family released a statement saying they hope their son can serve as an inspiration to those struggling with infertility.
The transplants themselves are complex — Baylor has done eight so far. At least three of them have failed, and one woman in the trial is pregnant.
Some ethicists question whether the cost of such a procedure, up to a half-million all told, is justified when IVF could also produce a genetically related baby by implanting an embryo in a gestational carrier.