South India’s First-Ever Uterine Transplant at Gleneagles Global Health City:
The women aged 24 and 28, both born without Uteruses, received the Organs from their mothers in the first week of December 2022. If the Uterus continues to function normally, by May, doctors will transfer an IVF-created Embryo into the wombs of the two women. Doctors said the baby will be delivered via Caesarean Section after successful implantation and healthy development. “For women without Uteruses or with an underdeveloped one, surrogacy or adoption is the only option. Now, medicine offers hope to those who want to conceive, carry and give birth to a biologically related child,” said Dr Padmapriya Vivek, who heads the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The surgeries were proctored by Dr Jiri Fronek, head of the Transplant Surgery Department, at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic. The women, whose identity has been withheld by the hospital, were both diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome – a rare congenital disease where they were born with normal Ovaries and Fallopian Tube Function, but have no Uterus. “When they first came to the hospital, they were asked to consider surrogacy as an option. They told us they wanted to opt for a Uterine Transplant and we began work early this year when new rules made surrogacy a difficult option,” Dr Padmapriya Vivek said.
The hospital, which holds the state’s license to perform Uterine Transplants, harvested the women’s eggs and their spouse’s sperm multiple times and froze up to eight embryos for one couple and a dozen for the other. Doctors also assessed the health of the donors – aged 52 and 56. “The donors had attained menopause and were healthy women without lifestyle disorders such as Diabetes or Hypertension,” she said.
The 28-year-old woman from Tamil Nadu had to undergo a plasma exchange ahead of her 16-hour-long transplant surgery as her blood group did not match her mother’s (donor). The patient was under observation for three days before commencing the Transplant.
Meanwhile, doctors worked for 15 hours to Transplant the Uterus of the 24-year-old woman from Andhra Pradesh. This included eight hours to retrieve the Organ from the donor. “Tests, including biopsies and scans, showed that the women have accepted the new Organ.
The women are on immunosuppressant medication and hormone tablets. “If everything goes well, we will Transplant the Embryo in six months,” Padmapriya said. “We have up to five years to help them Conceive. After five years, the Uterus will be removed even if they do not Conceive. This is the first Transplant in the state, but there have been nearly 100 such Transplants worldwide and close to 10 in India. Nearly half the women have delivered and a few of the 10 women are pregnant.
The hospital is also working with the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu to enable women to get Cadaver donations. “Not all women have suitable donors. With the technology and advances we have; we must be able to offer them suitable solutions”.