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India's First Uterus Transplant: Mom Donates Womb to Daughter

Back in May, the news of an Indian mother who donated her uterus to her daughter was doing the rounds. It was the first surgery of its kind in India and the 30th such medical feat in the world.

The entire operation took 9 and a half hours for completion and was led by medical director, Dr Shailesh Puntambekar in Pune’s Galaxy Care Hospital. He said, “The procedure is difficult because multiple large arteries are to be joined there, and veins that are small and short… It is technically very tough."

Dr Shailesh Puntambekar with his team at Pune’s Galaxy Care Hospital. Source: CNN

The first successful uterus transplant happened in 2014 and was led by Dr Mats Brännström. He had done research on this for an entire decade. There have only been 6 babies delivered after a uterus transplant. After 11 unsuccessful attempts, a healthy baby was born in Sweden. Following this, 5 others were delivered by the same Swedish team.

Absolute uterine infertility is a rare condition that affects one in 500 women. That is a total of 1.5 million women worldwide. After the uterus transplant, women are to wait at least a year before they try to conceive. This is so that the body does not reject the new uterus.

The process starts with IVF where the eggs of the mother are fertilized with sperm and the resulting embryos are frozen. They are implanted into the uterus a year after the uterus transplant.

Dr Mats Brännström explains the procedure. Source: CNN

The mother is then monitored throughout the pregnancy. After she has conceived the desired number of children, they will remove the donated uterus will be removed. This is done so that the recipient will no longer need immunosuppressive drugs.

Dr Brännström says that further research is required for this procedure to become a proper clinical procedure. It will take at least 3-5 years. In the near future, this procedure could be used not only for mothers with an absent or diseased uterus but also for transgender women who wish to conceive.

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