-- The nation's first uterus transplant was performed this week, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Staff that included transplant and gynecological surgeons worked for nine hours Wednesday to transplant a donor uterus into a 26-year-old woman. The organ was from a deceased donor, according to the Ohio medical center.
The operation was the first in a study that started last fall. The women who were considered for the procedure are unable to carry a pregnancy to term because of uterine factor infertility, which means the uterus had abnormalities that included fibroids, scarring, genetic malformations or that it never developed.
While the operation was a first in the United States, other uterus transplants have occurred in Sweden and Turkey. Four births have occurred in Sweden after nine uterus transplants, according to a previous statement by the Cleveland Clinic.
After undergoing an operation, the woman has to remain on immune system-suppressing drugs so that her body does not reject the organ. She’ll also have to under monthly biopsies.
“Unlike any other transplants, they are ‘ephemeral,’” said Cleveland Clinic lead investigator Dr. Andreas Tzakis said in a statement last year. “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.”
The hospital did not identify the recipient of the first uterus transplant in the United States.