For the second time in France, surgeons at Limoges University Hospital (in Haute-Vienne dept.) "removed an uterus from a brain-dead woman." Already, in September 2012, a Swedish team had succeeded in making the world’s first uterus implants by using living donors.
But "unlike the Swedish team, the French team had ruled out using living donors." According to Dr Pascal Pivert, a specialist in infertility who carried out the operations, "there is always a risk, and as it involves the implant of a non-vital organ, we did not think it was right for donors to run that risk."
After carrying out tests on animals, Dr Pivert and his team wanted to know if this was possible with a brain-dead donor. To carry out their study, they examined various questions such as the right time to removal the organ and how long it could survive. He thought that it is obvious that the uterus must be removed after the other organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. Then arose the question of deciding with which types of patients an uterus implant could be carried out. He pointed out that they "turned towards patients with congenital disorders" or "hysterectomies linked to cancers that were not so serious, because there is always a risk that the cancer will start up again." Lastly, Dr Tristant Gauthier, a young hospital practitioner specialising in gynaecological surgery, explains that "these are temporary implants intended to be removed after the pregnancy" [Editor’s note: usually, only vital organ are implanted owing to the anti-rejection treatment that is imposed for life by the implant].
In concrete terms, the first removal of a uterus by the team of Dr Pivert took place in October and "according to the protocol, six were programmed." The two doctors explain that they "will know if a birth is possible" in the next five years.