Baylor’s Uterine Transplant Symposium Aims to Take the Surgery Worldwide

Baylor University Medical Center’s uterus transplant clinical trial team will play host to a first-of-its-kind international Uterus Transplant Symposium on Friday and Saturday, with the hope of educating other medical centers around the world with a procedure that will provide an innovative solution to infertility.

Baylor is the only site in the country to successfully deliver two babies after transplanting a donated uterus into a woman, and is on the cutting edge of the procedure worldwide as the medical center makes its way through the second round of 10 new uterine transplants and donations. The symposium will share the latest findings, best practices, and biggest challenges to the surgery with medical centers who are pursuing uterus transplant clinical trials or hope to start one in the future.

Dr. Giuliano Testa, the surgeon who performed Baylor’s first uterine transplant and was named as one of Time’s most influential people in 2018, and Dr. Liza Johannesson, a Baylor surgeon who also worked with the Swedish team pursuing the same procedure, are helping to lead the event. Rather than holding tight to their knowledge, they are passionate about educating other health systems and spreading their expertise.

Since word about the procedure has spread, Testa and Johannesson said they have seen a massive response from both potential patients and donors, but that cost will be an issue if the procedure is to become more common. As the culture shifts worldwide, women are more comfortable sharing stories of infertility, and physicians are realizing the impact infertility can have. Johannesson says that studies show that the psychological and emotional impact of infertility can be worse than cancer, and hopes that insurance will begin to cover the procedure. It even has a higher success rate for pregnancy than IVF, given the small sample size.

Looking ahead, Testa sees the procedure moving into a less invasive stage, where an abdomen incision isn’t necessary. But for now, they are intent on educating others in order to help women. “We want to set the standard,” Testa says.

Because the transplant is such a complex procedure, the symposium will include an multidisciplinary team of specialists in transplant, gynecology, obstetrics, maternal/fetal medicine, and medical ethics. Presenters from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Cleveland Clinic, Sweden, Czech Republic, and India will take part in the symposium.

Learn more about the symposium here.