The team of doctors that pulled off the uterine transplant at Galaxy Care Hospital
Pune: A 21-year-old born without a uterus now has the most celebrated womb in the country, thanks to a team of doctors in Pune, who on Thursday pulled off India’s first ever uterus transplant. Notably, it was the patient’s 41-year-old mother who gave her the gift of motherhood.
The procedure began at 12.30 pm and stretched over 8.5 hours, as a team of 15 doctors harvested the mother’s uterus via laparoscopy and transplanted it in the daughter. “The procedure was completed at 10 pm. The surgery was successful, but the next 48 hours are crucial,” said Dr Shailendra Puntambekar, who headed the surgery at Galaxy Care hospital.
The 21-year-old hails from Solapur, where she lives with her husband. She is the youngest among her mother’s six children, the rest of whom are currently raising their own kids. The doctors had earlier also harvested eight eggs, which will be implanted in the uterus after a period of six months.
Gynaecologist Dr Milind Telang and IVF consultant Pankaj Kulkarni said, “The 21-year-old woman was born without a uterus in a condition known as congenital absence of uterus. Eggs were harvested two months ago, and will be implanted in the uterus in a year.
The main danger is organ rejection (in which the patient’s immune system attacks a transplanted organ), the leading cause of failure in uterine transplants across the world. The procedure is still considered experimental by some, with only a handful of cases meeting with success, mostly in Sweden.
Dr Puntambekar said, “We are hoping for the best. For a few days, the patient will be under observation and will then be shifted to general care. In the initial days, we will study the transplanted uterus via sonography, followed by monthly screenings.”‘
The transplanted uterus will be removed after the patient delivers a baby, and only after the child is around a year old. The uterus will be removed so that the patient does not have to keep taking immunosuppressant drugs to keep rejection at bay.
A similar operation is scheduled today for a 28-year-old Baroda woman. Since her marriage eight years ago, she lost her first child, suffered two abortions and underwent multiple uterus surgeries. Dr Puntambekar said, “This year, the hospital received permission from the DG of Health Services, Maharashtra, to perform uterus transplants for five years. Sassoon General Hospital’s committee members met the patients and collected their details, after which the green light was received.”‘