Welcoming a new era in transplant surgery – the womb transplant

It was only going to be a matter of time before a baby was born in a transplanted womb. Womb transplants have been on the verge of such a medical breakthrough for several years since  the first transplant took place in 2002 in Saudi Arabia https://healthyhappywoman.co.uk/hysterectomy/first-womb-transplant-takes-place-in-woman/. Originally tested in rats it was confirmed as possible in the latter part of the 20th century. And I’m sure everyone who has had a hysterectomy will be pleased to hear that someone born without a womb at all has now been part of medical history.

Of course, it gives hope to thousands of women in the UK who have a hysterectomy before being able to have children and who still want to experience motherhood in its entirety. Richard Smith, consultant gynaecologist at the Hammersmith Hospital in London has confirmed that the first womb transplant may take place in the UK as early as next year. Although the transplant itself shouldn’t pose a problem, the decision to proceed does need to go through an approval process first.

It’s thought that if funding can be secured – at present it will not be funded through the NHS – that up to 15,000 women might benefit from the procedure.

The new mother is a 36-year-old Swedish woman and the story was broken by The Lancet on Saturday 4th October. They described it as a ‘breakthrough for infertile women’. The baby boy weighing 3.9 pounds was born prematurely last month by Caesarean section after his mother developed pre-eclampsia and both mother and child are doing well
The surgeons said “Absolute uterine factor infertility is the only major type of female infertility that is still viewed as untreatable,”. The replacement womb was dontated by a close family friend who at 61 had been through the menopause several years earlier. The final piece of the jigsaw was made possible by the use of IVF treatment with the mother’s own eggs as although she had no womb, she did have her ovaries.
Apparently, the womb did experience a brief episode of rejection, but it was successfully tackled by increasing a dose of corticosteroid drugs to suppress the immune system.

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