No woman has ever given birth from a womb that is not her own — until now. In a spectacular medical success that gives new hope to many women who have been told they can not bear children, a healthy baby was born in Sweden recently to a 36-year-old woman with a transplanted womb.
The birth of the baby, delivered by Caesarean section about nine weeks premature, was announced Thursday night online by the medical journal Lancet. The journal will publish full details of the womb transplant and subsequent successful birth in its new edition to be published next week.
But despite the complications in the pregnancy the new baby boy is doing just fine, doctors say.
“The baby is fantastic,” said the Swedish doctor who actually delivered the baby, Mats Brannstrom. “But it is even better to see the joy in the parents and how happy he made them.”
While the baby’s parents have not been named publicly, according to an Associated Press report, they are both athletes — and are delighted with their new child.
“It was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now have the most amazing baby,” the father told the AP. “He is very, very cute, and he doesn’t even scream, he just murmurs.”
The mother was born without a womb, a birth defect seen in about one of every 4,500 girls.
The transplanted womb itself, according to the Associated Press, was donated by a family friend who was over 60 years old, a mother of two, and had already experienced menopause.
But in a conflicting report, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper said that the donor was the woman’s own mother. If that report is true, the woman gave birth to her own child from the same womb that she, herself, was born from.
While the womb transplant procedure is complex and risky — and the drugs needed to keep a woman’s body from rejecting the new uterus — doctors say that the amazing birth represents a historic breakthrough for fertility medicine.
“This is unbelievably exciting, its brilliant. 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,” said London gynecological surgeon Richard Smith. “We have 60 patients on the waiting list for this procedure. News of the first live birth has answered the last unanswered question, whether a woman could give birth to a healthy baby.”
Brannstrom said that he currently has two other womb transplant patients who are now pregnant, each in about the 25th week.