Baby born using uterus transplanted from deceased donor in medical first

LONDON – Brazilian doctors are reporting the world's first baby born to a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor. Eleven previous births have used a transplanted womb but from a living donor, usually a relative or friend. Experts said using uteruses from women who have died could make more transplants possible. Ten … Continue reading “Baby born using uterus transplanted from deceased donor in medical first”

LONDON – Brazilian doctors are reporting the world's first baby born to a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor.

Eleven previous births have used a transplanted womb but from a living donor, usually a relative or friend.

Experts said using uteruses from women who have died could make more transplants possible. Ten previous attempts using deceased donors in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the U.S. have failed.

The baby girl was delivered last December by a woman born without a uterus because of a rare syndrome. The woman — a 32-year-old psychologist — was initially apprehensive about the transplant, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team's lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine.

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"This was the most important thing in her life," he said. "Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy,"

The woman became pregnant through in vitro fertilization seven months after the transplant. The donor was a 45-year-old woman who had three children and died of a stroke.

The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth by cesarean section. Doctors also removed the womb, partly so the woman would no longer have to take anti-rejection medicines. Nearly a year later, mother and baby are both healthy.

Two more transplants are planned as part of the Brazilian study. Details of the first case were published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.

Uterus transplantation was pioneered by Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom, who has delivered eight children from women who got wombs from family members or friends. Two babies have been born at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas and one in Serbia, also from transplants from living donors.

In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed after an infection developed.

"The Brazilian group has proven that using deceased donors is a viable option," said the clinic's Dr. Tommaso Falcone, who was involved in the Ohio case. "It may give us a bigger supply of organs than we thought were possible."

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The Cleveland program is continuing to use deceased donors. Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for nearly eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is. Doctors try to keep the time an organ is without blood flow to a minimum.

Other experts said the knowledge gained from such procedures might also solve some lingering mysteries about pregnancies.

"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant," said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal. "These transplants will help us understand implantation and every stage of pregnancy."

IVF kids may have higher risk of high blood pressure

Kids born through in vitro fertilization may be more likely to develop high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Researchers found a higher average blood pressure among teens born through IVF than in children conceived naturally, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Moreover, teens born through IVF were more likely to have blood pressures high enough to be diagnosed with hypertension.

The researchers advise parents of children conceived with IVF to concentrate on other heart disease risk factors.

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"Eliminate additional cardiovascular risk factors, such as overweight, sedentary lifestyle and smoking," suggests coauthor Dr. Urs Scherrer of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Also, he recommends, get a 24-hour blood pressure reading when the children are between ages 16 and 20.

Scherrer and colleagues compared 54 teens conceived through IVF with 43 of their friends who had been conceived naturally. The teens' average age was 17.

In adults, a blood pressure above 120/80 is considered high. But in children and adolescents, a normal blood pressure depends on age and height. If a youngster has a higher blood pressure than 90% to 95% of other males or females his or her age and height, then the child may have high blood pressure.

The IVF teens had higher blood pressure, on average, than their friends (119/71 versus 115/69). Eight of the IVF teens were diagnosed with hypertension, compared to one in the control group.

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Five years earlier, researchers had checked blood pressures in both groups and found no difference between IVF teens and their friends. "Until adolescence there are no cardiovascular problems," Scherrer said by email.

The conditions under which IVF embryos develop may play a role, he suspects.

"There are numerous conditions which are not physiologic during the in vitro period – temperature, mechanical insults related to embryo handling, sub-optimal culture media, etc. – that the embryo needs to cope with in order to survive, (and these) may have altered the regulation of gene (expression)," Scherrer said.

While the new findings are very interesting, the study is small, said Dr. Alan Penzias, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at the Harvard Medical School and a fertility specialist at Boston IVF.

Findings of small studies are not always generalizable to the population at large, Penzias said by email.

And while the researchers may have mitigated a number of possible confounders by using the IVF children's friends as controls – the control group was probably the best match for socioeconomic background, for example – they didn't eliminate what might have been the biggest variable: history of infertility, Penzias said.

"Is the finding in this paper caused by the IVF procedure or is it caused by the infertility itself," Penzias asked.

Penzias points to a large 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that found a higher risk of birth defects in babies born to couples with a history of infertility, regardless of whether the babies were conceived naturally or with IVF.

Still, Penzias said, "tracking the outcomes of medical intervention is prudent. Deciphering the mechanisms of disease to facilitate the design of treatments that improve the human condition is a worthy mission and is one that is universally endorsed."

IVF kids may have higher risk of high blood pressure

Kids born through in vitro fertilization may be more likely to develop high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Researchers found a higher average blood pressure among teens born through IVF than in children conceived naturally, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Moreover, teens born through IVF were more likely to have blood pressures high enough to be diagnosed with hypertension.

The researchers advise parents of children conceived with IVF to concentrate on other heart disease risk factors.

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"Eliminate additional cardiovascular risk factors, such as overweight, sedentary lifestyle and smoking," suggests coauthor Dr. Urs Scherrer of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Also, he recommends, get a 24-hour blood pressure reading when the children are between ages 16 and 20.

Scherrer and colleagues compared 54 teens conceived through IVF with 43 of their friends who had been conceived naturally. The teens' average age was 17.

In adults, a blood pressure above 120/80 is considered high. But in children and adolescents, a normal blood pressure depends on age and height. If a youngster has a higher blood pressure than 90% to 95% of other males or females his or her age and height, then the child may have high blood pressure.

The IVF teens had higher blood pressure, on average, than their friends (119/71 versus 115/69). Eight of the IVF teens were diagnosed with hypertension, compared to one in the control group.

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Five years earlier, researchers had checked blood pressures in both groups and found no difference between IVF teens and their friends. "Until adolescence there are no cardiovascular problems," Scherrer said by email.

The conditions under which IVF embryos develop may play a role, he suspects.

"There are numerous conditions which are not physiologic during the in vitro period – temperature, mechanical insults related to embryo handling, sub-optimal culture media, etc. – that the embryo needs to cope with in order to survive, (and these) may have altered the regulation of gene (expression)," Scherrer said.

While the new findings are very interesting, the study is small, said Dr. Alan Penzias, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at the Harvard Medical School and a fertility specialist at Boston IVF.

Findings of small studies are not always generalizable to the population at large, Penzias said by email.

And while the researchers may have mitigated a number of possible confounders by using the IVF children's friends as controls – the control group was probably the best match for socioeconomic background, for example – they didn't eliminate what might have been the biggest variable: history of infertility, Penzias said.

"Is the finding in this paper caused by the IVF procedure or is it caused by the infertility itself," Penzias asked.

Penzias points to a large 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that found a higher risk of birth defects in babies born to couples with a history of infertility, regardless of whether the babies were conceived naturally or with IVF.

Still, Penzias said, "tracking the outcomes of medical intervention is prudent. Deciphering the mechanisms of disease to facilitate the design of treatments that improve the human condition is a worthy mission and is one that is universally endorsed."

IVF kids may have higher risk of high blood pressure

Kids born through in vitro fertilization may be more likely to develop high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Researchers found a higher average blood pressure among teens born through IVF than in children conceived naturally, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Moreover, teens born through IVF were more likely to have blood pressures high enough to be diagnosed with hypertension.

The researchers advise parents of children conceived with IVF to concentrate on other heart disease risk factors.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER RUPTURES SPLEEN DURING GAME

"Eliminate additional cardiovascular risk factors, such as overweight, sedentary lifestyle and smoking," suggests coauthor Dr. Urs Scherrer of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Also, he recommends, get a 24-hour blood pressure reading when the children are between ages 16 and 20.

Scherrer and colleagues compared 54 teens conceived through IVF with 43 of their friends who had been conceived naturally. The teens' average age was 17.

In adults, a blood pressure above 120/80 is considered high. But in children and adolescents, a normal blood pressure depends on age and height. If a youngster has a higher blood pressure than 90% to 95% of other males or females his or her age and height, then the child may have high blood pressure.

The IVF teens had higher blood pressure, on average, than their friends (119/71 versus 115/69). Eight of the IVF teens were diagnosed with hypertension, compared to one in the control group.

DETROIT WOMAN SAYS SELFIES ALERTED HER TO STROKE, SAVED LIFE

Five years earlier, researchers had checked blood pressures in both groups and found no difference between IVF teens and their friends. "Until adolescence there are no cardiovascular problems," Scherrer said by email.

The conditions under which IVF embryos develop may play a role, he suspects.

"There are numerous conditions which are not physiologic during the in vitro period – temperature, mechanical insults related to embryo handling, sub-optimal culture media, etc. – that the embryo needs to cope with in order to survive, (and these) may have altered the regulation of gene (expression)," Scherrer said.

While the new findings are very interesting, the study is small, said Dr. Alan Penzias, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at the Harvard Medical School and a fertility specialist at Boston IVF.

Findings of small studies are not always generalizable to the population at large, Penzias said by email.

And while the researchers may have mitigated a number of possible confounders by using the IVF children's friends as controls – the control group was probably the best match for socioeconomic background, for example – they didn't eliminate what might have been the biggest variable: history of infertility, Penzias said.

"Is the finding in this paper caused by the IVF procedure or is it caused by the infertility itself," Penzias asked.

Penzias points to a large 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that found a higher risk of birth defects in babies born to couples with a history of infertility, regardless of whether the babies were conceived naturally or with IVF.

Still, Penzias said, "tracking the outcomes of medical intervention is prudent. Deciphering the mechanisms of disease to facilitate the design of treatments that improve the human condition is a worthy mission and is one that is universally endorsed."