For the first time in history, a woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy after having a uterus transplant. Born with a genetic condition called Rokitansky syndrome, the 36-year-old Swedish woman had no womb although her ovaries were perfectly intact.
The woman was completely unaware of her condition until age 15. Devastated as an adult at the prospect of never being able to conceive a child, doctors performed a uterus transplant last year after a uterus was donated from a 61-year-old close family friend.
In a statement released by doctors today, the event is truly a breakthrough for infertile women. This exploit pushes through a major barrier pertaining to female infertility, being the absence of a uterus due to surgical removal or heredity reasons. Until this procedure proved to be successful, there was no treatment in absolute uterine factor infertility.
The surgeon, Liza Johannesson who led the uterus transplant surgery said the event was like having her own child. Everyone was beyond excited but also stunned.
Weighing only 3.9 pounds, the baby was born at the University of Gothenburg’s Hospital via caesarean section at 31 weeks gestation because the woman had developed pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition. However, both the baby and new mother are doing extremely well.
The birth is in itself astounding but considering the uterus came from a woman who had finished going through menopause seven years earlier, it is beyond remarkable. The organ transplant took about 10 hours to complete but at that time, medical professionals were still unsure if the woman could actually conceive.
After healing, the woman underwent in-vitro fertilization, which involved eggs harvested from her own ovaries being fertilized with her partner’s sperm and then cryogenically preserved before implant. Just one early-stage embryo was inserted into the transplanted uterus, followed by a positive pregnancy result three weeks later.
Initially, the transplanted womb tried to reject the implant but after increasing the dose of corticosteroid drugs that help suppress the immune system, the egg was accepted.
This success is based on more than a decade of intensive research, coupled with surgical training, according to Professor Matts Braennstroem of the University of Gotherburg’s Hospital. The birth of this baby boy opens up new doors of opportunity for treating young women around the world who suffer from uterine infertility. Even more, the feasibility of live-donor uterus transplantation from a post-menopausal donor has been proven.