A woman from Turkey who became the first person to successfully receive the uterus from a deceased donor may now be pregnant, a hospital has said.
Specialists at Akdeniz University Hospital, in Antalya, using IVF treatment had placed an embryo inside the womb of Derya Sert, 22, with her doctor Mustafa Ünal reported to have said in a statement that she was two weeks pregnant and “doing fine”. Hospital spokeswoman Fusun Bas said on Friday that early test results were "consistent with the expected signs of pregnancy", although it was still very early.
It would be the second piece of history made by Mrs Sert who was described as a ‘medical miracle after the initial transplant in August 2011. Doctors had wanted to wait for 18 months before starting IVF to ensure there were no problems with the transplant. Mrs Sert, married Mustafa Sert, 35, four years ago and the embryo implanted in her womb was created using one of her eggs and her husband’s sperm. Doctors said that if the baby would be delivered via Caesarean section and the womb would be removed afterwards to prevent any further complications.
Mrs Sert was born without a womb, which affects one in 5,000 women. If the procedure proves a success it would raise the hopes of the approximately 15,000 women of child-bearing age in the UK who have no uterus, either because they were born without one, or had it removed through medical complications. Richard Smith, a gynaecologist and consultant at Imperial College in London, who chairs the charity Uterine Transplant UK, has previously said that the organisation will apply to an NHS research ethics committee to perform five transplants in 2014 dependent on the success of the pregnancy of Mrs Sert. Mr Smith’s team have previously trialled uterus transplants in rabbits and they will move onto humans if they are given ethical approval.
While Mrs Sert was the first recipient of a womb from a dead donor she was actually the second to receive a womb transplant after a woman in Saudi Arabia received a uterus from a living donor, but that transplant was rejected and had to be removed after 99 days.
In September 2012, a team of doctors at Sahlgrenska University in Sweden performed uterus transplants on two women in their thirties, with the donors being the mothers of the recipients. One of the two women was born without a womb, and the other had it removed after a cancer diagnosis.