Baroda-based Rupal (name changed) will be the first woman in India to get her mother’s womb. The country’s first uterus transplant will take place on May 18 at Pune’s Galaxy Care Hospital. Rupal (26) has been in and out of hospitals through her eight years of marriage. She has lost two babies after full-term pregnancies, has had four abortions and a scarred uterus. “Atlu sehen karyu che, have sano dar (I have gone through a lot and am no longer worried),” she says. Her 44-year-old mother adds, “Mara chokri ne balak thay bas etla mate operation che (I am doing this so that my daughter can have her own child).”
Swati (22) from Solapur will also undergo a uterus transplant at Galaxy Care Hospital on May 19. She was born without a uterus.
“We thought it was a case of delayed menstruation. Six months after she got married, doctors told us she did not have a uterus. What is the use of my uterus? If I give it to my daughter, at least she can have her own child,” says Swati’s 45-year-old mother.
“My husband is very supportive,” Swati, a homemaker, says. Rupal, who works as a beautician, also had her husband accompany her during the lengthy sessions with doctors.
“My baby did not survive the first pregnancy as there was a cord around the neck, and the second pregnancy resulted in a still birth. I had painful abortions. For the last two years I have not been menstruating due to Asherman’s Syndrome. My husband has seen my pain,” Swati says.
Both women were admitted to Galaxy hospital on May 9, and doctors are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the transplants are successful. “We have been planning the live donor uterine transplant for a year now,” Dr Shailesh Puntambekar, Medical Director at Galaxy Care Hospital, said. “The infrastructure is in place at the hospital, our team has perfected the technique. The facilities were inspected by a government team that granted permission to conduct uterine transplant,” he said.
A total of 25 uterine transplants have been conducted worldwide. The first successful one was performed in Saudi Arabia in 2002, but a pregnancy could not be achieved. A uterine transplant was then performed in 2011 in Turkey, where the pregnancy lasted eight weeks. The uterus was retrieved from a cadaveric donor (brain dead). It was in Sweden that a transplant in 2011 was followed by a full-term pregnancy.
Assisted by a 12-member team of gynaecologists, endocrinologists and IVF specialists, an entire floor of Galaxy hospital has been prepared for the transplant. The first three transplants will be conducted free of cost.
According to Dr Milind Telang, gynaecologist with the 12-member team, uterine transplant is most feasible among non-vital organ transplants. “Adoption leads to legal motherhood, surrogacy to biological child but transplant gives the mother legal, biological and gestational motherhood, thus giving the maximum satisfaction.”