First womb-transplant baby born
4 Oct BBC
A woman in Sweden has given birth to a baby boy using a transplanted
womb, in a medical first, doctors report.The 36 year-old mother, who was
born without a uterus, received a donated womb from a friend in her 60s.
The British medical journal The Lancet says the baby was born
prematurely in September weighing 1.8kg (3.9lb). The father said his son
Cancer treatment and birth defects are the main reasons women can be
left without a functioning womb.If they want a child of their own, their
only option is surrogacy.The identity of the couple in Sweden has not
been released, but it is known the mother still had functioning ovaries.
The couple went through IVF to produce 11 embryos, which were
frozen.Doctors at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg then
performed the womb transplant.The donor was a 61-year-old family friend
who had gone through the menopause seven years earlier.
Drugs to suppress the immune system were needed to prevent the womb
being rejected.A year after the transplant, doctors decided they were
ready to implant one of the frozen embryos and a pregnancy ensued.
The baby was born prematurely, 31 weeks into the pregnancy, after the
mother developed pre-eclampsia and the baby's heart rate became
abnormal.Both baby and mum are now said to be doing well.
In an anonymous interview with the AP new agency, the father said:
"It was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now have the most
"He's no different from any other child, but he will have a good
story to tell.'' Two other medical teams have attempted womb transplants
before.In one case, the organ became diseased and had to be removed
after three months. Another case resulted in miscarriages.
Prof Mats Brannstrom, who led the transplant team, described the
birth in Sweden as a joyous moment."That was a fantastic happiness for
me and the whole team, but it was an unreal sensation also because we
really could not believe we had reached this moment."
"Our success is based on more than 10 years of intensive animal
research and surgical training by our team and opens up the possibility
of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine
infertility."Liza Johannesson, a gynaecological surgeon in the team,
said: "It gives hope to those women and men that thought they would
never have a child, that thought they were out of hope."
However, there are still doubts about the safety and effectiveness of
the invasive procedure.Dr Brannstrom and his team are working with
another eight couples with a similar need. The results of those
pregnancy attempts will give a better picture of whether this technique
can be used more widely.
Dr Allan Pacey, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, told
the BBC News website: "I think it is brilliant and revolutionary and
opens the door to many infertile women."