First U.S. uterus transplant could be performed in Florida

Published February 11, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE - A team of South Florida doctors said Friday they expect to perform their first uterus transplant sometime within the next year, a feat that has yet to be attempted in the United States, although other medical centers also are working toward that goal.

Dr. Andreas Tzakis, who has pioneered abdominal wall and multiorgan transplants at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital, said transplanting a uterus so that a woman can carry her own baby is a next logical step, just as hand transplants and face transplants have broken new ground at other medical centers.

A woman who has had her uterus removed because of fibroid tumors, postpartum hemorrhage or injury may be a candidate. The replacement uterus would come from a woman who has died and has signed an organ donor card.

The transplant recipient would need to take antirejection drugs, but the drugs are not expected to have ill effects on a baby.

Only one uterus transplant is known to have occurred, Tzakis said. That was in Saudi Arabia and the organ had to be removed about three months later because its blood supply became blocked.

Dr. George Attia, a UM reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist working with Tzakis' team, said he doesn't know how many women are potential candidates for the procedure.

The plan, which must first be approved by the university, calls for a donor uterus to be implanted with all the blood vessels required. After healing, one embryo created through mixing sperm and egg in the lab would be implanted into the womb.

The baby would be delivered by C-section, and the uterus would be removed so the woman does not have to continue taking antirejection drugs, Attia said.