A woman in Brazil has successfully given birth after receiving a womb from a dead donor, the first time such a procedure has been successful.
The team said the success meant that women for whom surrogacy or adoption was previously the only option for starting a family might soon have another path they could choose.
While babies born from live donor uterus transplants have been done almost a dozen times before, including once in 2017 at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Dallas, this birth marks the first time doctors have been able to remove the uterus from a recently deceased donor and have it result in a live birth.
Those odds will now doubt continue to improve with time, but given the scarcity of living donors in general, the number of people willing to give up their uterus while they're still kicking isn't exactly huge.
It is estimated that between 10 to 15 percent of couples of reproductive age worldwide are affected by infertility. Within this group about one in 500 women have irreversible infertility - which can be due to a congenital malformation, cancer, or other illness, leading to genetic absence or removal of the uterus.
"With a deceased donor, you reduce the risk because you don't have the risk to the donor - and you reduce the costs, too, because you don't have the hospitalisation and the very long surgery of the donor", said Dr Dani Ejzenberg of the University of São Paulo, who led the research.
News of the procedure was disclosed in The Lancet medical journal.
In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed after an infection developed.
"The numbers of people willing and committed to donate organs upon their own deaths are far larger than those of live donors, offering a much wider potential donor population", he said.
A doctor involved in the transplant said the uterus was preserved in ice for almost eight hours demonstrating the organ's resilience.
The uterus was donated by a 45-year-old deceased mother of three, who died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
"This was the most important thing in her life", he told AP.
A womb transplant is performed by removing the womb from the donor and transplanting it into the recipient by connecting the two major veins and a series of arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals, according to The Lancet.
Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society president Clifford Librach said the challenges of transplant surgery, the need for immunosuppressing drugs to stop organ rejection that could affect the fetus, and other potential risks are big factors that will likely keep this surgery from becoming commonplace.
A mother has given birth to a healthy baby girl after surgeons implanted a womb in her body taken from a dead person.
Fifteen were fertilised, with 8 resulting in embryos that were subsequently preserved for later implantation.
The whole field of uterus transplantation is in its early days. The mother is the first in the world to give birth after such a transplant, a feat doctors were not sure would ever be possible.
The newborn weighed just over 2 kilograms.