The first uterus transplant in the United States has failed, officials at the Cleveland Clinic, where the procedure was performed, said on Wednesday.
The failure happened only a day following the clinic's news conference announcing what then seemed a successful transplant.
The operation was the first of 10 that was planned in an experimental program aimed at making possible for women without a uterus to become pregnant and give birth. In Sweden, doctors have performed nine uterus transplants that resulted in five births.
Sweden doctors, however, used organs from living donors and the Cleveland hospital opted to use organs from deceased donors to prevent exposing live donors to the risks of surgery.
Doctors used a uterus from a woman in her 30's who suddenly died and whose family has given consent to use her uterus in the pioneering transplant. The operation was performed for nine hours on Feb. 24 on a patient who was identified only as Lindsey to protect the privacy of her three adopted sons.
The technique is aimed at helping women who were born without a uterus or have lost it because of a disease get the chance at pregnancy, as an alternative to surrogacy or adoption.
The ratio of women born without a uterus is one in every 5,000.
The 26-year-old recipient, who has earlier expressed her excitement over the possibilities offered by the experimental operation, was born without a uterus. Eileen Sheil, the clinic's spokeswoman, said that Lindsey developed a serious complication on Tuesday which led to the removal of the transplanted uterus. Sheil did not identify the nature of the complication but said that pathologists are analyzing the uterus to know what went wrong.
Despite the failure of the operation, the clinic said that it will pursue its efforts that give hope to thousands of women who want to bear their own child. The medical team also ensured the safety of the patient, who is doing okay regardless of the complications.
"The study, which has been planned to include 10 women, is still ongoing with a commitment to the advancement of medical research to provide an additional option for women and their families," the clinic said in a statement.