First US uterus transplant fails

Doctors perform the United States' first uterus transplant at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on Feb 24, 2016.
Doctors perform the United States' first uterus transplant at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on Feb 24, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The first uterus transplant to be performed in the United States failed after the recipient suffered complications that prompted doctors to remove the organ, the Cleveland Clinic said on Wednesday (March 9).

"We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus," the hospital said in a statement that did not give the patient's last name.

She was "doing well" and "recovering" after surgery to remove the organ, it added without elaborating.

The transplant, which lasted nine hours, took place on Feb 25. Doctors announced several days later that the operation had been a success.

On Monday, the surgical team held a news conference during which the 26-year-old recipient briefly appeared smiling.

The hospital said it is reviewing why the transplant failed, adding that its clinical trial - which aims to carry out uterus transplants in 10 women - will continue.

Doctors at Sweden's University of Gothenburg were the first to successfully perform a uterus transplant in 2013.

The recipient gave birth to the first child to be conceived in an implanted womb in September 2014.

The Swedish team has enabled four healthy births to date.

The transplant is temporary, meant to enable women to deliver up to two children over a five-year period.

The transplanted uterus must then be removed to end exposure to drugs meant to prevent women's bodies from rejecting the transplanted organs.