Paving the way
- The first successful uterus transplants were performed in Sweden.
- They have resulted in five live births to date and the uteri came from living donors.
- About a decade of research and clinical trial collaboration has occurred between the Swedish team and the Cleveland Clinic.
A first in the U.S.
The first U.S. uterus transplant was performed in February of 2016:
- The Cleveland Clinic is administering the U.S.’s first clinical trial of uterus transplantation for reproductive age women with Uterine Factor Infertility (UFI).
- UFI: pregnancy is impossible due to being born without a uterus, uterus having been removed, or uterus non-functioning; affects 3 to 5 million women worldwide.
- 10 participants (age 21-29 with UFI) are planned for the clinical trial.
- The uterus transplant is intended to be a temporary transplant to allow a woman her only opportunity to carry a pregnancy
- The uterus would remain in situ for 1-2 pregnancies after which anti-rejection medications would be discontinued and the uterus removed or allowed to disintegrate.
- The first transplant at the Cleveland Clinic, lasted more than 9 hours.
- Soon after the transplant, the uterus was removed following a sudden complication due to an infection that affected blood supply to the organ.
How Uterus Transplantation Works
- Recipient candidate screening and selection.
- Donor identification: age 18-40 with a healthy uterus.
- Recipient IVF initiated; 6-10 embryos frozen.
- Anti-rejection meds initiated; donor uterus and blood supply transplanted.
- Uterus heals after 12 months; embryos implanted one by one.
- Anti-rejection drugs given throughout pregnancy; monthly cervical biopsies performed to monitor for rejection.
- Baby delivered by C-section; anti-rejection meds halted after 1-2 babies.
- See Cleveland Clinic’s infographic for more facts about uterus transplant.
- Read Q & A with lead surgeon Dr. Andreas Tzakis
- Watch animation video (click on image)
Three additional programs reportedly plan to launch experimental uterus transplants: Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (New York Times)
A special thanks to Elizabeth Spencer from Elizabeth Katherine Communications LLC for her contributions to this issue.
Cleveland Clinic http://www.clevelandclinic.org/lp/uterus-transplant/index.html
The Lancet, Livebirth after uterus transplantation (Feb 14, 2015) http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61728-1/abstract
The Denise Grady (March 9, 2016). First US Transplant Has Failed. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/10/health/first-uterus-transplant-in-us-has-failed.html?_r=0
Editor: Hedi Aguiar RN, MSN, Director of Programs and Communications, The Alliance, email@example.com.
This Education Corner is available for download. The Alliance grants permission for the distribution and reproduction of this educational communication.