First U.S. uterine transplant fails

By Shen Gao
Staff Writer

The doctors mid-surgery

A team of Cleveland Clinic surgeons performed the uterine transplant during surgery two months ago. Photo: AP

The first uterine transplant in the U.S. has failed, officials at the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement last week.

The organ was surgically removed after causing a sudden complication for the patient—a 26-year-old woman named Lindsey. She had undergone the uterus transplant surgery on Feb. 24. This was the first of 10 uterine transplants planned by the Cleveland Clinic in a pilot program designed to give women the opportunity to give birth if they could not otherwise.

This meant that these women were selected based on those who were born without a uterus, had lost a uterus, or have a uterus that no longer functions.

Officials from the Cleveland Clinic stated that the complication was “due to an infection caused by an organism that is commonly found in a woman’s reproductive system,” and that it “appears to have compromised the blood supply to the uterus, causing the need for its removal.”

The medical staff on site said that they have enforced a set of modified protocols that will reduce the chance that similar complications will arise in the body of the next patient undergoing the same procedure.

Prior to the complication, Lindsey gave a statement at a press conference saying that she found out she could not give birth to children when she was 16. After the procedure failed, Lindsey thanked her doctors nonetheless,  saying, “I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety.”

The Cleveland Clinic is sure following the footsteps of Sweden, where the first successful birth through a transplanted uterus had taken place in 2014. Since then, at least four more babies have been born in Sweden after uterus transplants.

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