(CNN) — For the first time, a baby has been born to a woman who received a uterus transplant from a deceased donor, according to Hospital das Clínicas at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine in Brazil.
The uterus or womb, which is shaped like a topsy-turvy pear and sits within the pelvis, is a female reproductive organ that houses and nourishes the fetus until birth. At least a dozen children in Sweden, the United States and Serbia have been born to women with transplanted uteri donated by a living relative, noted the authors of the study, which was published Tuesday in the medical journal The Lancet.
“The results provide proof-of-concept for a new treatment option for absolute uterine factor infertility,” wrote co-authors Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, an ob/gyn at the University of Sao Paulo and Hospital das Clínicas in Brazil, and Dr. Wellington Andraus, a transplant surgeon at the Sao Paulo University School of Medicine in the study. Less than 5% of women worldwide have some type of “absolute uterine factor infertility,” in which an abnormality of the womb interferes with fetal development.
The Brazilian team followed protocols established by Dr. Mats Brännström and his team at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where the first successful uterus transplant, that one from a living donor, was performed in 2013. That recipient mother gave birth in 2014.