Ovarian and uterus transplants
TFM and dear wife have had infertility issues. We can understand the strong urge a married couple can have for children. This surgery had to be expensive and I'm betting it wasn't covered by the Lagos' insurance.
Dr. Sherman Silber completed the whole ovary transplant Feb. 5 in Missouri after performing the same procedure between twins last month.
The surgery could restore normal hormone function for women going through early menopause. It also could mean that one day a woman with cancer could freeze an ovary, undergo chemotherapy and radiation, and have her own ovary returned later to restore her fertility.
When Lagos, now 30, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2004, her older sister Maeapple Chaney, now 31, donated bone marrow. Lagos was cured of cancer, but the treatment disabled her ovaries and she went into early menopause.
"I was devastated," Lagos recalled, her voice still breaking as she tried to talk about it Monday. Now married, Lagos wasn't with a partner at the time, so wasn't able to freeze any embryos, she said.
"I think it sounds selfish, but I just wanted to feel like a woman again," she said.
Yes, she wanted to have children of her own, but the menopause also induced osteoporosis, ended her monthly cycle, diminished her sex drive, and interfered with the natural "ebb and flow" of her emotions, she said.
Chaney was willing to donate eggs so Lagos and her new husband, Rodrigo Lagos, could have a baby through in vitro fertilization, but then Rodrigo Lagos saw a television report about Silber.
In 2004, Silber placed strips of ovarian tissue from a fertile twin into her prematurely menopausal sister. That woman, Stephanie Yarber, now has two children following the surgery. He has since done similar surgeries on six other sets of twins.
All of the twins who have had the ovarian tissue transplants are ovulating and menstruating normally, Silber said.
But the women may get only a few years of ovarian function using the strips of tissue, he said.
Silber, who directs the Infertility Center of St. Louis at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo., hopes that a whole ovary with its own blood supply will last decades.
Doctors at the University of Miami are planning to do the first uterus transplant.
A team of South Florida doctors said Friday that sometime within the next year they expect to perform their first uterus transplant, a feat that has yet to be attempted in the United States, although other medical centers also are working toward that goal.I'm always amazed by the advances made in science. One day these transplants may become common place. Who knows, brain transplants may occur.(Boy will the ethics questions and comparisons to bad movies be made if that procedure is ever attempted.)
Dr. Andreas Tzakis, who has pioneered abdominal wall and multi-organ 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 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 doctors have termed the condition "uterine-factor infertility." 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 anti-rejection drugs to prevent her body from recognizing the uterus as foreign and trying to destroy it, but the drugs are not expected to have any ill effects on the baby.
Tzakis said hundreds of women taking the drugs after kidney transplants have had successful pregnancies, as have about 200 who have had liver transplants.
Only one uterus transplant is known to have been performed, Tzakis said. That was in Saudi Arabia, and the organ had to be removed about three months later because its blood supply became blocked.
Good luck to both Doctors Tzakis and Silber.
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