Indian Doctors Have Successfully Pulled Off The Country's First Womb Transplant

A team of city doctors successfully performed country's first womb (uterus) transplant on a 21-year-old Solapur woman on Thursday.

In this case a mother's uterus was transplanted to her 21-year-old daughter who is unable to become pregnant. "Another 48 hours will be crucial in determining the outcome the surgery", said oncosurgeon Shailesh Puntambekar who performed the surgery along with team of 11 other doctors. Medical literature shows many implanted wombs - four womb transplantations failed in the USA before their first success - were rejected and less than a third of the recipients have delivered a baby.

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In an interview with CNN, Dr. Puntambekar said: "The procedure is hard because multiple large arteries are to be joined there, and veins that are small and short". According to the doctors, they retrieved the donor's uterus by using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery, which helped reduce the duration of the procedure by almost three hours from the normal 12 hours. The surgery began at around 12.30 pm and ended at 9.30 pm on 18th May. The procedure of harvesting uterus was done through small incision laparoscopically and transplanted in the receiptant.

The doctors also said they expect the recipient to menstruate normally, something which she has not experienced thus far.

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All major transplantations - kidneys, liver, heart and lungs, to name a few - save lives or dramatically improve the health of the recipients. Hence, the donor has to undergo one surgery, whereas the recipient has to undergo three surgeries. The uterus donor was the recipient's 45-year-old mother. However, the Swedish doctor who performed the world's first successful uterus transplant told Hindustan Times on Thursday that the procedure is being attempted with "no proper preparations at all" and will put the patient at "very high risk".

Uterine transplant is a surgical procedure whereby a healthy uterus is harvested from a donor and transplanted into an organism of which the uterus is absent or diseased.

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It remains to be seen whether India's first transplant will result in childbirth.

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