A day after the country’s first uterus transplant — when a mother underwent a hysterectomy to donate her womb to her daughter — doctors said the Solapur-based duo was in a stable condition. They also went ahead with the second uterus transplant, during which a 24-year-old woman from Baroda, who has a scarred uterus, was fitted with the womb from her 45-year-old mother.
“We took around seven hours to complete the procedure, from the retrieval of the uterus to the transplant. This is the first time in the world that both transplants were done via minimal access laparoscopic surgery,” Dr Shailesh Puntambekar, Director of Galaxy Care Hospital, told The Indian Express.
The 24-year-old Baroda woman, who underwent the surgery on Friday, has been married for eight years. For six of those years, she has been in and out of hospitals. According to gynaecologist Dr Milind Telang, the woman had lost two babies after full term pregnancies and had four abortions. She has Asherman’s syndrome (scarring of the uterus) and her uterus has been non-functional for the last two-and-a-half years.
“The second uterus transplant surgery started at 2 pm and was completed by 9.30 pm. It is a coincidence that the surgeries were planned one after the other. We had taken permission from the state health department and the patients have been in the hospital for a while,” said the doctors.
“We now have to wait for another week to check for organ rejection. This is not in our control,” said Puntambekar, adding, “There are so many women who want to experience motherhood but are unable to do so due to various problems. Uterus transplant is not recommended for everyone. We have always advised our patients to consider other options like surrogacy and adoption. It is only after intense counselling, and consent recorded on video, that the transplant procedure is taken ahead”.
“During the first transplant in the world, it took 14 hours to retrieve the uterus, and we have done it in four-and-a -half hours. As a precautionary measure, the recipient in the first transplant was kept on ventilator support… she was born without an uterus and as part of the procedure, we had to first prepare a bed to lay the uterus in her body. Then, the blood vessels had to be joined and extreme care had to be given for vascular anastomosis,” said Dr Sanjeev Jadhav, heart and lung transplant surgeon.
This is the first time that Jadhav, who is a heart, lung and kidney transplant surgeon, has undertaken two uterus transplants. According to Puntambekar, a doppler test performed on Friday morning showed that the blood supply to the uterus was normalised.
Dr Pankaj Kulkarni, an IVF specialist who, along with gynaecologist Dr Neeta Varty, was involved in both transplant operations, said that in the future, the pregnancies will be via in-vitro fertilisation. “…We have already harvested the normal ovaries and the sperms were taken from their respective husbands to prepare embryos,” explained Kulkarni.
“Once the transplant is successful, they can plan the pregnancy after a year,” he added.