The first US recipient of a transplanted uterus has undergone surgery to have the organ removed, only a month and a half after it was first implanted. According to medical officials the reason for the removal was due to a yeast infection, though it was not immediately known whether the infection stemmed from the deceased donor’s organ or the recipient herself.
The recipient, 26 year old Lindsay McFarland, received the transplant February 26th. Her surgery follows a successful line of uterus transplants done in Sweden. However, McFarland’s transplant set a precedent when doctors at Cleveland Clinic performed the surgery for the first time in America, on the woman who was born without a uterus.
Unfortunately, just two weeks after surgery, the uterus had to be removed and put McFarland back to her pre-surgical state. Although McFarland has three adopted children, the young mother said she had been praying the operation would give her an opportunity to experience pregnancy.
According to McFarland’s medical team, the “infection was caused by an organism that is commonly found in a woman’s reproductive system and the infection compromised the blood supply to the uterus.”
Transplant surgeon Dr. Andreas Tzakis said the infection was caused by the most common infection causing form of yeast, known as candida albicans, which is located throughout many parts of the body, but especially within female organs, although it normally does not cause complications. However, it can cause problems with “Immuno-compromised” systems. Dr. Tzakis said McFarland appeared to be doing well and has a good family support system.
Meanwhile, the future clinical trials of uterus transplants at the Cleveland Clinic have been postponed while the medical team investigates the source of the infection to make sure future complications do not take place.
Dr. Tzakis and Cleveland Clinic OB-GYN head Dr. Tommaso Falcone confirmed the Cleveland Clinic will use antifungal medications in the future.