A 36-year old woman in Sweden has given birth to a baby boy after being transplanted with a donated womb from a 61-year family friend. The unnamed woman was born without a uterus or womb even though she had functional ovaries; and medical research has shown that the rare condition of being born a female but without a womb occurs in one girl out of 4,500 girls born.
The baby was delivered at 31 weeks of pregnancy through caesarean section when doctors detected that its fetal rate was getting abnormal and the mother had developed preeclampsia – a dangerous high blood pressure that goes with fluid retention and albuminuria. The baby weighed only 3.9 pounds or 1.8 kg, and was discharged from the neonatal unit 10 days after birth.
A professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF, Dr. Mats Brannstrom, had led a team of specialists to conduct the womb transplant on the patient, and he had been assisted by his wife, a licensed midwife, to deliver the baby through ceaserean section.
Before this time, the unnamed couple had undergone IVF to produce 11 embryos that were frozen, after receiving the womb transplant. The patient was then given medications that would suppress her immune system from rejecting the new womb. About a year later, the medical team implanted one of the frozen embryos and the result was a pregnancy that produced the wonder baby.
According to Dr. Brannstrom, “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.”
The chairman of the British Fertility Society, Dr. Allan Pacey, welcomed the development but states that “I think it is brilliant and revolutionary and opens the door to many infertile women. The scale of it feels a bit like IVF. It feels like a step change. The question is can it be done repeatedly, reliably and safely.” And Liza Johannesson, a gynecological surgeon on the medical team adds that “it gives hope to those women and men that thought they would never have a child, that thought they were out of hope.”
The proud father of the newborn states joyously “it was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now have the most amazing baby. He is very, very cute, and he doesn’t even scream, he just murmurs. He’s no different from any other child, but he will have a good story to tell. One day he can look at the newspaper articles about how he was born and know that he was the first in the world (to be born this way).”
The medications used to suppress the new mothers’s immune system from rejecting the donated womb are said to not be too good for the body on the long term unless of course the patient gets the womb removed, but Dr. Brannstrom says he doesn’t know yet if the couple would like to keep the womb for a second pregnancy. The new parents state this is not a concern to them at the moment, the new father says “we will definitely think about that, but right now, we’re very happy with just one baby.”
That was what the happy father initially said, but new indicators appear they might want to go for a second baby.