In a shocking announcement released just moments ago, the Cleveland Clinic that performed the groundbreaking uterus transplant has said the surgery failed. The uterus has now been removed due to complications.
The transport was performed at the Cleveland Clinic on February 24 on a 26-year-old woman identified only as Lindsey who did not have a uterus. She received the uterus from a woman who had died and opted to donate her organs. The surgery had been celebrated across America as it was the first “successful” transplant in the U.S. The hospital has declined to provide further details as to why the transplant failed.
— Cleveland Clinic (@ClevelandClinic) March 9, 2016
Lindsey initially had been doing well after the transplant surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and had even appeared briefly at a news conference on Monday with her surgeons. She then had sudden complications and the uterus was removed the next day, according to Yahoo News. No information about the complication has been provided at this stage.
— CBS News Health (@CBSHealth) March 7, 2016
Lindsey has hailed her doctors for their fast work in saving her life, according to Fox News.
“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. Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”
The Cleveland Clinic released the following statement just hours ago.
“We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus.
“On February 25, Cleveland Clinic announced the first uterus transplant as part of a clinical study for women who suffer from uterine factor infertility. At this time, the circumstance of the complication is under review and more information will be shared as it becomes available.
“There is a known risk in solid organ transplantation that the transplanted organ may have to be removed should a complication arise. The medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient.
“While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.
“The study, which has been planned to include 10 women, is still ongoing with a commitment to the advancement of medical research to provide an additional option for women and their families.”
Other countries have previously tried womb transplants and succeeded. Sweden reported the first successful birth in 2014 and have had five healthy babies born from nine uterus transplants since. Doctors in Sweden are still experimenting with womb transplants and treatments. Unlike the case of Lindsey, the successful transplants came from women that were alive, not deceased as the Cleveland Clinic donor was.
The uterus transplant at the Cleveland Clinic was the first of 10 that have been planned. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, two other hospitals in the U.S. have been approved for uterus transplants. The Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital are still going ahead with the same transplant in spite of this setback.
Watch our story on the nation's 1st #UterusTransplant.
— Cleveland Clinic (@ClevelandClinic) March 7, 2016
Uterus transplants could be a solution for thousands of women who are unable to have children because they were born without a uterus or have lost theirs due to trauma or disease.
If any of the future experimental uterus transplants are successful in the U.S., participants will have to wait for over a year to ensure the new uterus is healed before attempting to become pregnant.
Women are also set to only have the donated uterus for one to two pregnancies before it is removed again. This is so the woman does not have to use anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life after having her children.
[Photo by the Cleveland Clinic Center/AP]