Womb Transplant: A new ray of hope for Infertile women

A 36 year old woman gave birth to the world’s first baby born from a transplanted womb last month at the University of Gothenburg’s hospital in Sweden. The woman was suffering from MRKH syndrome, which is when a woman is born without a womb. This cute little baby has brought along a ray of hope and happiness for all the infertile women in the world.

The baby boy weighed 3.9 pounds after he was delivered through caesarian section in the 31st week of pregnancy. The parents of the baby shared their happiness at his arrival. The baby boy’s father said: “It was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now have the most amazing baby. He also said: “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.”

A 61-year-old woman, who was a close family friend, donated her womb after she had gone through a menopause. A patient underwent the IVF treatment in January whose embryo was transferred to the Swedish mom’s new womb.

The 36-year-old mother to the newly born baby is a patient of Dr. Mats Brannstrom, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg. She was prescribed three medicines which worked to prevent her body from rejecting a new organ in the body. It was after a period of six weeks that she got her menstrual period which was a positive sign of the healthy womb.

The doctors became confident after a year when the womb started working well. Then, they decided to transfer a single embryo which was created using the woman’s eggs and her husband’s sperm. During the period of pregnancy, the woman had to face three mild rejection episodes and all of them were treated successfully by medicines.

Until the 31st week of the pregnancy, the growth of the baby, blood flow to the womb and umbical cord were absolutely normal. Post that period, the mother developed preeclampsia which was a dangerous high-blood-pressure condition. Doctors decided to deliver the baby by cesarean section after an abnormal fetal heart rate was detected.

The entire team which was a part of this surgery was delighted to see the baby. After achieving success in the surgery, Prof. Brannstrom, who led the research and delivered the baby with the help of his wife, said: “The baby is fantastic. But it is even better to see the joy in the parents and how happy he made them.” He added “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.”

After the surgery, there are two options: First, that the couple can try for one more baby and the second is womb removal. This is important because the drugs which are used for preventing the womb from rejection can harm the body in the long term.

The operation, follow-up and immunosuppressant drugs cost £100,000, with the research paid for by the Jane and Dan Olsson Foundation for Science, a Swedish charity.

Adoption and surrogacy were the only options for women which were born without a womb. And, this was in the cases where the women wanted to have a child genetically related to her, but both the options are legally complicated.

For now, all the doctors around the globe have welcomed the first successful birth from a womb transplant.

Prof Sheena Lewis, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Queens University Belfast and Chairman of British Andrology Society said: “This is another step forward in the treatment of infertile women.”

This kind of surgery has been attempted earlier in Saudi Arabia in 2000. It was the first ever womb transplant surgery but it failed shortly afterwards. In 2011, Derya Sert, 21, received a womb from a dead donor in Turkey. She conceived a child but no heartbeat was detected and it was later terminated. Later in 2012, there was good news announced by Dr Brannstrom about the nine womb transplants which were carried out. All the transplants turned out to be successful.

Eight out of those nine recipients suffered from MRKH syndrome which is a congenital disorder affecting one in 5,000 women. The disorder prevents the womb from developing. The ninth recipient had her womb removed after suffering from cervical cancer.

 With this success, there is now a new ray of hope for all those suffering from MRKH syndrome.

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