First Baby Born To Woman With Womb Transplant

07/10/2014 09:59 | Updated 20 May 2015

Little hand and feet of a new born baby

A woman has given birth after having a womb transplant in a medical world first.

The 36-year-old mum, who was born without a uterus, had the baby boy by Caesarean section in Sweden after surgeons at the University of Gothenburg performed the pioneering transplant procedure.

He was delivered in September in the 31st week of pregnancy, weighing 3lb 9oz - normal for that stage of pregnancy.

Both mum and son are now at home and both are doing well.

The identity of the parents, a Swedish couple, hasn't been revealed, but the baby's father said: "It was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now have the most amazing.

"He's no different from any other child, but he will have a good story to tell.''

British experts said that they were preparing to carry out a similar procedure next year. It could help 14,000 British women carry their own child.

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World's First: Baby Born to Woman with Womb Transplant

In Sweden, doctors transplanted wombs into several women who had a rare genetic condition that meant they were born without their own womb.

In January, one of the patients had IVF treatment that resulted in an embryo being transferred to her new womb. The donated womb came from a family friend.

The woman is a patient of Dr Mats Brannstrom, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg.

Dr Brannstrom, who led the research and delivered the baby with the help of his wife, a midwife, said: "The baby is fantastic. But it is even better to see the joy in the parents and how happy he made them."

Richard Smith, a consultant gynaecological surgeon at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London, said he was preparing to do similar operations here next year funded by the charity Womb Transplant UK.

He said: "This is unbelievably exciting, its brilliant. It looks like everything has gone very well and its really wonderful news. What's happened here is so exciting because the great unknown has been answered."

Mr Smith said his own team's research in this area was going well and should be able to begin work on womb transplants in Britain next summer.

He said: "We've finished all the lab research and pre-transplant human research and we're almost ready to go. The only big issue is we're short of funds, which we've been all the way along.

"We are submitting applications for ethics approval in the next few weeks with a view to doing human live transplants in the UK next year.

"We have moved from an atmosphere where people were really quite against this procedure to where people are quite supportive. We have 60 patients on the waiting list for this procedure."

After the Caesarean section, the womb would be left in place until the mother has completed her family and then removed so that drugs to stop the body rejecting the organ could be halted. The drugs carry an increased risk of cancer. The operation, follow-up and immunosuppressant drugs cost £100,000.

Professor Sheena Lewis, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Queens University Belfast and Chair of British Andrology Society said: "This is another step forward in the treatment of infertile women. "The questions we have asked in the past about such a study have been: are the donors fully informed of the risks of such an operation. If so, and they agree, that seems acceptable.

"The other question is whether the transplanted womb is adequate in providing the optimal environment for the growing foetus. We will watch the progress of this baby with Interest and hope."

Parents of Womb-Transplant Baby Speak of Joy

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