A Brazilian woman has spoken of her journey to motherhood after having a dead donor’s womb transplanted into her to have a child
Fabiano and Claudio Santos, from Sao Paulo, were chosen from a trial to have the surgery after the 34-year-old discovered she was born without a womb.
“Luisa is our little miracle,” Fabiano said.
The transplant took place at a hospital in Brazil following IVF treatment, in which eight of Fabiano’s 16 egg retrieved had been frozen for use, if the transplant proved successful.
British surgeons are now planning the first womb transplant next year, spurred on by the Fabiano’s story.
They have ethical approval from the NHS for 15 transplants, five from live donors and ten from deceased.
Ten previous attempts across the globe at using a womb from a dead donor had failed and so this successful procedure is seen as a huge step forward in this type of transplant.
Luisa celebrated her first birthday this month, something her parents could only dream about two years ago
In an interview with the Mail Online, the couple spoke about the process and how they feel a year on from the birth.
Fabiano learned just several weeks before she married, at 28, that she did not have a womb. She had never had a period, but it wasn’t until she was ready to marry that she decided to find out why.
She was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser(MRKH) syndrome and began to research the condition.
Tests showed she had eggs, but no womb, with doctors telling her she would never have a child naturally.
She spent years coming to terms with her diagnosis and said it was a dark time
Her husband, Claudio, had wanted to adopt and this is something the pair will also look into again now that they have their daughter.
Fabiano said: “I wasn’t interested in adopting at the time as I wanted to generate my own baby, inside of me.”
The couple joined a support group, which is where they were approached by surgeons looking for candidate.
After many months of tests and procedures, they were selected from ten couples to have the pioneering treatment
Fabiano said that time was emotionally exhausting.
When a donor became available, a 45-year-old woman, Fabiano spent 11 hours in surgery and Claudio said it was a tense time.
He said: “We had to sign a form saying we were aware of the risks. I spent the whole night awake, waiting and praying. I only relaxed when it was over and she was back in her room.”
Fabiano had to take a cocktail of drugs, including immunosuppressant drugs.
Once she had fully recovered one of their frozen embryos was transferred to her donated womb. Amazingly, the embryo implanted and in December 2017, the couple welcomed their daughter.
Fabiano had a caesarian section and at the same time a hysterectomy, to remove the womb, so that she could stop taking the immunosuppressant drugs.
The couple wanted to share their joy to inspire others.
Claudio said: We hope that many other couples who think they will never have children will soon be able to experience this feeling, too.”
What is Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome?
The congenital condition which can mean the absence of a vagina, uterus and cervix. It affects one in 5,000 women. The condition is usually discovered during puberty. In many cases, women still have ovary and eggs, which function in a healthy, normal way.
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