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First uterus transplant fails due to 'sudden complication'

The woman who received the first uterus transplant in the U.S. experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her uterus.
/ Source: TODAY

The first attempt at a U.S. uterus transplant has failed, but the patient, a 26-year-old woman, is recovering, doctors said Wednesday.

The patient, who’s identified only as Lindsey, had appeared before television cameras Monday.

“We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus,” the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement.

“While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.”

Lindsey and her husband Blake said they were grateful to the doctors.

“They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety,”they said in a statement distributed by the clinic.

“Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”

Lindsey told Monday’s news conference she had been told at age 16 she could not have a biological child. She said she and her husband had adopted three boys, but she wanted to try the operation to see if she could become pregnant.

“At this time, the circumstance of the complication is under review and more information will be shared as it becomes available,” the clinic said.

The procedure has been done nine times in Sweden with a five of successful pregnancies, and surgeons say it’s tricky. Patients only keep the uterus long enough to have a child or two and then the organ is removed because of the risks of rejection.

“There is a known risk in solid organ transplantation that the transplanted organ may have to be removed should a complication arise. The medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient,” the clinic said.

“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 United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) says it has approved three centers to perform uterine transplants: Baylor, in Houston and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as the Cleveland Clinic). It says there is one patient is on the waiting list for a uterine transplant.

Related: First uterus transplant grateful for the chance to get pregnant