A team of surgeons at Baylor University Medical Center announced Wednesday they have performed the first living donor uterus transplants in the United States.
The hospital said in a statement the experimental procedure was performed four times between September 14-22.
The procedure was unsuccessful for the first three patients, however, and the transplanted organ was removed because there was not adequate blood flow to it. According to the hospital, those three patients are recovering well.
The fourth patient seems to be on a better path to success. “Her tests are showing good blood flow to the uterus. There are also no signs of rejection or infection at this time,” the statement said.
“We are cautiously optimistic that she could ultimately become the first uterine transplant recipient in the US to make it to the milestone of uterine functionality.”
No other details were available about the procedure or patients involved.
Doctors from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden were the first to perform the experimental procedure with a living donor, having done so in nine women since 2012. There have been five successful live births resulting from the transplants. In some cases, the living donor was a relative.
Members of the Swedish surgical team worked alongside the Baylor team as they performed the procedure on patients in Dallas last month, the hospital said. The Swedish doctors have also been reviewing the three unsuccessful transplants to determine what may have gone wrong.
Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic performed the first uterus transplant in the United States in February. Lindsey McFarland, a 26 year-old mother of three adopted children, received a uterus from a deceased donor. But she developed a yeast infection, which caused complications and her newly transplanted uterus was removed. Cleveland Clinic had planned to perform the procedure on 10 women with uterine factor infertility as part of a clinical trial but put the trial has been put on hold.
Uterine factor infertility is a condition in which a woman cannot carry a pregnancy because she was born without a uterus, has lost her uterus or has a uterus that no longer functions. It’s an irreversible condition affecting as many as 5% of women worldwide.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is also approved to perform the experimental procedure, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which maintains waiting lists for patients needing donor organs.