India’s first womb transplant in Pune today, mother to transfer hers to daughter
A team of 12 doctors will conduct the procedure on a Solapur resident, who does not have a uterus using a laparoscopic technique.
Doctors at a Pune hospital will conduct India’s first womb transplant on Thursday when they transfer a mother’s uterus to her 21-year-old daughter, who is unable to conceive a child.
A team of 12 doctors at Pune’s Galaxy Care Laparoscopy Institute (GCLI) will conduct the procedure on a Solapur resident, who does not have a uterus.
“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 that the entire procedure would take around eight hours.
The surgeons will retrieve the uterus using a laparoscopic technique, which is expected to shorten the duration of the procedure.
The hospital will conduct another womb transplant on Friday on a 24-year-old woman from Baroda who suffers from Asherman’s Syndrome (scar tissue in the uterus) and will receive her mother’s womb.
Surgeons at GCLI will transplant a womb in a third woman, who is suffering from cervical cancer, at a later stage.
The hospital has been preparing for womb transplants over the past few months and recipients were made to undergo ovulation stimulation through IVF. Frozen embryos are implanted in the womb after transplantation for the couple to conceive.
The first two womb transplants will be done free although the cost of the procedure is around Rs 7-8 lakh.
According to Dr Puntambekar, the transplantation is not known to harm the recipient or the baby despite the use of anti-rejection drugs (immuno-suppressants) and the multiple surgeries involved.
He cited data on kidney transplant patients successfully delivering babies despite being put on immuno-suppressants in support.
If the surgery is successful, both the recipients will be able to conceive using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and have children. Both donor and recipients undergo screening procedure post which the uterus is retrieved and transplanted in the recipient, who undergoes three surgeries.
If the recipient conceives, she will deliver the baby through Caesarean-section and has to take immno-suppressants for the rest of her life to prevent rejection of 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.
The Maharashtra directorate of health services granted GCLI the license to carry out womb transplantation for five years after inspecting its facilities in April this year.
The hospital decided to go ahead for the procedure on Wednesday after they obtained final approval from district level committee at government run Sassoon hospital.
“We now have all the approvals in place,” Dr Puntambekar said.
Besides GCLI, Bangalore-based Milann International Institute for Training and Research in Reproductive Health has also received approval from Indian Council of Medical Research for womb transplantation on two women, but no dates have been announced yet.
Womb transplantation was first done in Sweden in 2012 and the first baby, born to the recipient in 2014, was delivered prematurely through Caesarean section, and was healthy, according to the British medical journal The Lancet.
Earlier, Dr Puntambekar said the surgical team went to Sweden to learn about the transplantation procedure before practising on human cadavers in Germany and the US.