Argentine woman gives birth after heart transplant

January 29, 2013 by Sonia Avalos

In what doctors Tuesday said was a medical first, an Argentine woman with a transplanted heart gave birth to a baby girl following an in vitro fertilization.

Pregnancy after an is always a high risk proposition because the drugs needed to ensure the transplanted organ is not rejected make pregnancy difficult, and their effects on the fetus were not clear.

"There is no record in the world of a transplant patient who has achieved pregnancy through in vitro fertilization," said Gustavo Leguizamon, head of the center in Buenos Aires, where the treatment was performed.

The risks are even greater in because women have 40 percent more blood during pregnancy, putting extra strain on the heart.

"This could lead to not enough blood getting to the uterus, causing the baby to grow less" and a possibly , Leguizamon said.

The medications needed to perform in vitro fertilization added yet another layer of complication, said Ricardo James, a reproductive specialist at the high risk center.

But the risks did not stop Juliana Finondo, 39, who was determined to chase her dream of motherhood.

"I was never afraid. Maybe I'm too optimistic," she said.

The graphic designer from eastern Argentina, who now lives in Buenos Aires, had a in 1999. At the time, doctors told her she could not risk getting pregnant after the surgery.

A decade later, she decided to try—but two years passed without getting pregnant naturally.

Infertility can be a side effect of the used to prevent , said Sergio Papier, a doctor who heads a research center focusing on gynecology and reproduction.

"can see their affected and their fertility diminish," said Papier, who did not work with Finondo.

The immunosuppressants work by preventing the development of new fast-growing cells, including those that are necessary for pregnancy, he said.

So after Finondo was carefully examined to ensure she didn't show any signs of rejecting her heart, her doctors designed a special medication plan to wean her from the drugs, adding to her difficulties conceiving and to add in the fertility drugs needed for in vitro fertilization.

Luckily, Finondo got pregnant on her first round of IVF. And after nine months of strict monitoring her healthy daughter Emilia was born on January 15.

Finondo's cardiologist Sergio Perrone said the case shatters prejudices of the limitations of a life post-transplant.

"Today a transplant patient has an excellent quality of life, much better than people realize," Perrone said.

He said he also hoped the story would encourage people to consider organ donation, "because it saves one life, which can be multiplied by so many more."

The infant Emilia "will become a mother in her time," he said.

In Argentina, in 2012, 630 donors contributed organs to 1,458 patients, a record rate of 15.7 donors per million people.

But there are 7,290 patients on the waiting list, according to government figures.

Explore further: Successful pregnancy possible after kidney transplant

Related Stories

Successful pregnancy possible after kidney transplant

October 20, 2011
A new study recently published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that the ability to successfully carry a pregnancy after kidney transplantation is very high, with 73.5% live birth rates.

World's first mum-to-daughter uterine transplants in Sweden (Update)

September 18, 2012
Two Swedish women received new uteruses at the weekend in the world's first mother-to-daughter uterine transplants aimed at helping them have babies, Gothenburg University announced on Tuesday.

Weaning transplant recipients from their immunosuppressive drugs

December 12, 2011
Transplant surgeons live in the hope that one day they will be able to wean at least some of their patients off the immunosuppressive drugs that must be taken to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. A team of researchers ...

Heart transplant patients at risk for serious skin cancers

June 30, 2011
A new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that there is a significant risk of serious skin cancers, including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, in heart transplant patients.

Turkish womb transplant promises hope for women

October 1, 2011
Lying on a hospital bed in her laced violet nightgown, Derya Sert is the first woman in the world to receive a womb from a deceased donor, raising hopes for millions of women to bear a child.

Recommended for you

Women exposed to smoke while in womb more likely to miscarry

July 13, 2017
Women exposed to cigarette smoke while in their mothers' wombs are more likely to experience miscarriage as adults, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

Lack of a hormone in pregnant mice linked to preeclampsia

June 30, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from Singapore, the Netherlands and Turkey has isolated a hormone in pregnant mice that appears to be associated with preeclampsia—a pregnancy-related condition characterized by ...

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

June 28, 2017
Taking a low-dose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death.

The biology of uterine fluid: How it informs the fetus of mom's world

June 22, 2017
A developing fetus bathes in a mixture of cellular secretions and proteins unique to its mother's uterus. Before fertilization, the pH of uterine fluid helps create a conducive environment for sperm migration, and afterward, ...

New clues in puzzle over pre-eclampsia and cholesterol regulation

June 21, 2017
Scientists studying a mystery link between the dangerous pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia and an increased risk of heart disease in later life for both mother and child have uncovered important new clues.

Are maternal hormones different when carrying a boy or a girl?

June 15, 2017
With advances in prenatal testing it's now possible to find out whether a pregnancy will result in a male or female baby as early as eight weeks' gestation.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.