Success in womb transplants

By Drum Digital
08 December 2014

Three women have now successfully given birth after receiving womb transplants, two of them donated from their own mothers.

Three women have now successfully given birth after receiving womb transplants, two of them donated from their own mothers.

In a medical first, a woman has given birth to a healthy baby boy after receiving a transplanted uterus from a friend in her 60s. The baby was born in September, and is named Vincent after the Latin ‘to conquer’. He was born 8 weeks prematurely and weighed 1.8 kg. Vincent’s mother, who has not been named, was born without a uterus. Along with her husband, she underwent IVF to produce 11 embryos, which were then frozen.

The women were all part of a group of nine given transplanted wombs in a trial at Gothenburg University earlier this year. They will have their wombs removed unless they choose to try for further children. Of the group there were four pregnancies, of which three have so far resulted in births. It is understood that a transplanted womb is not capable of withstanding the enormous pressures involved in labour and birth.

The next two births, also boys, were born in November to women aged 29 and 34. Both received womb transplants from their own mothers. This means that these women gave birth using the same wombs in which they themselves were carried.

The first woman to receive a womb transplant, and who remains anonymous, received the organ from a family friend who had gone through menopause seven years prior. One year after the transplant and taking immune suppressant drugs to prevent the womb being rejected, the frozen embryos were prepared and implanted.

The womb transplant was performed by doctors at the University of Gothenburg.

“I felt like a mother the first time I touched my baby and was amazed that we finally did it,” she said.

“I have always had this large sorrow because I never thought I would be a mother – and now the impossible has become real.”

Little Vincent is said to be doing well. "It was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now have the most amazing baby. He's no different from any other child, but he will have a good story to tell,'' Vincent’s father said in an anonymous interview with AP news agency.

"It gives hope to those women and men that thought they would never have a child, that thought they were out of hope," Liza Johannesson said. She is a gynaecological surgeon in the team.

The other two womb transplants and births occurred in the same hospital in Sweden.

“It is an absolutely extraordinary gift. It is probably the best thing you can do for your daughter,” said Hendrik Hagberg, a professor of foetal medicine at Kings College London. He was at the birth. “The mothers were still very much doubting whether things would really go well. You don’t take anything for granted,” he said.

The first in-vitro baby was born in 1987.

-        Compiled by Megan Bursey


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