This is an update to a prior All About Women blog article.
In April 2013, the first ever successful womb transplant leading to pregnancy it was announced. Women around the world held their breath waiting for Derya Sert, 22, to have the first baby ever born from a transplanted womb.
Derya Sert, 22, who was born without a womb, had been receiving in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment after the transplant in August 2011 performed by Dr. Omer Ozkan. A statement from Akdeniz University Hospital in Turkey where the transplant took place confirmed she was the first to have a successful womb transplant from a dead donor, a healthy car accident victim.
Unfortunately, doctors confirmed on May 14 “Derya Sert’s pregnancy was terminated after her end-of-8-weeks examination showed no embryo heartbeat.”
Derya Sert, 22, who was born without a womb, had been receiving in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment after the transplant in August 2011. Her early test results were “consistent with pregnancy” and her general health status was “fine” up through her eighth week.
Sert is currently doing well and is ready to try again. “IVF will be continued when she is ready, in appropriate conditions.” Mrs. Sert had 8 eggs frozen prior to her 2011 transplant procedure so she is able to continue her dream of having her own child.
One in every 5,000 women globally is born without a womb, while thousands more have the organ removed due to cancer or other diseases, leaving them unable to get pregnant.
Dr. Ozkan could have a race on his hands to become the first doctor to achieve a successful pregnancy from a womb transplant.
Swedish experts, who received approval to complete ten procedures in total, carried out two procedures in September last year, both involving the world’s first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants and both involving women in their 30s.
Prof Ozkan’s Turkish team used wombs from dead donors. The Swedish team, led by Mats Brannstrom who originally got the idea from a patient in 1999, used wombs not only from living women but they were also from immediate family members.
“We are not going to call it a complete success until this results in children,” added Michael Olausson, one of the Swedish surgeons, to The Associated Press. “That’s the best proof.”
Olausson said in theory, there could be a lower risk of organ rejection when the donor is a family member but he said a more important factor was the “emotional connection” between mother and daughter. Also, it makes it easier to “know that the transplanted organ works,” he said, adding that it doesn’t matter if the donor is past menopause.
Doctors are divided over whether to use living or dead donors. Some experts are uncomfortable with taking the womb from a living woman when it is not for life-saving reasons.
With live transplants, there are risks to two living patients. However, an organ from a living donor can be a better match.
As more information about this exciting and astonishing new procedure—that some would consider a miracle—becomes available, we will post updates. This extraordinary advancement in medical research and procedure is seen by some as a beautiful blending of natural reproduction and science, while others are uncomfortable about there being anything “natural” involved in the whole idea.
Literally, millions of women around the world will be affected by having the option to carry their own fertilized egg and become mothers without the need for a surrogate or adoption.