India’s first womb transplant will be performed today in Pune when doctors will transplant a mother’s uterus to her 21-year-old daughter who is unable to become pregnant. The Solapur resident does not have a uterus. A team of 12 doctors at the Pune’s Galaxy Care Laparoscopy Institute (GCLI) will perform the procedure on her.
“We will start to retrieve the uterus at around 9 am from the donor and transplant it in recipient,” Dr Shailesh Puntambekar, medical director, GCLI, told HT, adding further that the duration of the procedure would be eight hours.
The uterus that is to be transplanted would be retrieved using a laparoscopic technique, which is expected to make the procedure less longer.
The hospital will transplant another uterus on Friday on a 24-year-old woman who has Asherman’s syndrome who will also receive her mother’s womb. The presence of scar tissue on the uterus constitutes Asherman’s syndrome.
A third womb transplant will take place at the GLCI at a later stage on a woman who is suffering from cervical cancer.
Preparations at the hospital for womb transplant have been going in the hospital for the last few months. The recipients underwent ovulation stimulation procedure through IVF. Post transplantation, frozen embryos would be implanted in the womb to enable conception.
The first two uterus transplants will not be charged, although the cost of the transplant is about Rs 7 to 8 lakhs.
Dr Puntambekar says that although the procedure involves the use of anti- rejection drugs also known as immune suppressants and multiple surgeries, it does not known to harm the recipient or the baby. He quoted data on kidney transplant patients who had successfully delivered babies despite being on immune suppressants for support.
On successful completion of the surgery, both the recipients would be seeing in vitro fertilization techniques to conceive and have children. The transplant involves three surgeries on the recipient.
Both the donor and the recipients are screened before the procedure, after which the uterus is retrieved and transplanted in the recipient.
If the recipient conceives, the baby must be delivered through caesarean section and the recipient will also have to take immune suppressants life- long to prevent her body from rejecting the donor uterus.
“The success of the transplant can be assessed after a month when recipient will undergo sonography and other tests to ensure the fitted uterus is functioning properly or not,” said Dr Puntambekar.
GCLI has been granted a licence for 5 years to perform womb transplants after scrutinising and checking its facilities in April this same year.
The hospital took the decision to go ahead with the transplants after they received a final approval and acceptance from the district level committee from the Sasson hospital which is government run.
“We now have all the approvals in place,” Dr Puntambekar said.
Milann International Institute for Training and Research in Reproductive Health in Bangalore has also received the approval of the Indian Council of Medical Research for conducting womb transplantation on two women but as of now no dates have been finalized.
The British medical journal the Lancet has reported that the first uterus transplantation was performed in Sweden in 2012, and the first baby was born in 2014 to the recipient. The baby was healthy though delivered prematurely through caesarean section.
Dr Puntambekar said that the surgical team had studied and trained in Sweden about womb transplantation and had practiced on human cadavers in Germany and the US.