Before this breakthrough, women suffering from infertility due to congenital abnormalities, cancer, or other illnesses had few options aside from surrogacy or adoption.
A 6-pound baby girl was delivered through cesarean section, according to Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, a gynecologist at the Hospital das Clínicas at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil, who led the research. The donor uterus was removed from the receiving patient during the c-section.
Four months before the transplant, she had in-vitro fertilisation resulting in eight fertilised eggs, which were preserved through freezing.
There have been 10 uterus transplants from deceased donors attempted in the U.S., the Czech Republic, and Turkey, but this is the first one which resulted in a live birth. There have been previous attempts to birth a child using a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor, however, all have proved unsuccessful.
The current need for live donors "is a major limitation as donors are rare, typically being willing and eligible family members or close friends", Dr Ejzenberg said.
"It enables use of a much wider potential donor population, applies lower costs and avoids live donors' surgical risks". He traveled to Sweden to learn from doctors there who have the most experience with uterine transplantation.
"The Brazilian group has proven that using deceased donors is a viable option", said the clinic's Dr. Tommaso Falcone, who was involved in the OH case.
The baby was born around 36 weeks of pregnancy and is "healthy and developing", along with the mother, the paper says.
"This is a great alternative compared to live donor uterus transplants and therefore a really historic achievement", said Dr. Tullius, who is also a professor of surgery at Harvard University. There have been ten other uterus transplants around the world from deceased donors, but this one is the first to have resulted in a livebirth.
This technique has been done eleven times before using the uterus of a living donor.
It said the case involved connecting veins from the donor's uterus with the recipient's veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments, and vaginal canals.
Dr Wellington Andraus of the department of Gastroenterology at the University of Sao Paulo who also worked on the case study told Newsweek the woman's story is a "source of hope" for patients struggling with fertility caused by the uterus or a lack thereof.
"This represents a major advance in reproductive health", she said.
"This is not in the case of a kidney or liver transplant, clearly because the vagina is an exposed area and since you are unable to identify what kind of organisms were growing, there is a potential danger for rejection", Ms Rao added. Fifteen were fertilised, with 8 resulting in embryos that were subsequently preserved for later implantation. It was the first successful uterine transplant in Latin America. Uterine transplants are considered "ephemeral", meaning they only stay in to allow the recipient to have children and are then removed.