Cleveland Clinic Performs First U.S. Uterus Transplant

Surgeons from Cleveland Clinic have performed the first uterus transplant in the U.S. in the hopes of eventually giving women without a healthy uterus the chance to have a baby.

The nine-hour operation was performed Wednesday on a 26-year-old patient, the Cleveland Clinic said. It has not released details of who she is but said she was in stable condition.

image: Uterus Transplant Surgery 2
Surgeons from Cleveland Clinic perform the nation’s first uterus transplant Ken Baehr

The transplanted uterus came from a deceased organ donor.

The patient still has a ways to go before motherhood. Recovery time is a year and she must take pills to prevent rejection of the transplanted uterus.

The patient has had her eggs removed from her ovaries, fertilized, and frozen using in-vitro fertilization techniques. If the transplant is successful, she can have an embryo implanted.

image: Uterus Transplant Illustration
Surgeons from Cleveland Clinic have performed the nation’s first uterus transplant Cleveland Clinic

Surgeons in Sweden were the first to successfully transplant a uterus and at least one patient had a baby.

The transplant is temporary. After the woman has one to two babies, the transplanted uterus will removed, the Cleveland Clinic said.

The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 3 percent to 5 percent of women worldwide lack a healthy uterus.

"This procedure potentially offers another route to family building for women either born without uteri or those who have had to have their uterus removed," said Dr. Owen Davis, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

"Unfortunately, some women live in jurisdictions whose governments will not allow the use of a gestational carrier. Uterine transplant may allow these women to have children."