- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2014

A 36-year-old Swedish woman with a “womb transplant” has given birth to the first baby born under such circumstances, according to a recent report by a medical journal.

The unidentified woman’s son was born in September and weighed just under 4 pounds, the Lancet reported Friday.

The woman, who was born with ovaries but without a womb due to a genetic condition, was one of several Swedish women who received a uterus transplant from a live donor in 2013, said the article by Dr. Mats Brannstrom and colleagues.

The new mother’s transplanted womb was donated by a 61-year-old family friend who had gone through the menopause seven years before the surgery, the London-based journal said.

Before the transplant, eggs were taken from the younger woman and fertilized with her partner’s sperm using in vitro fertilization; some 11 embryos were frozen.

A year after the transplant, Dr. Brannstrom transferred a single embryo to the new womb, which resulted in a positive pregnancy test a few weeks later.

Fetal growth and blood flow through the uterine arteries and umbilical cord were normal throughout the first 31 weeks of pregnancy, with “only one episode of mild rejection during the pregnancy,” said Dr. Brannstrom, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Gothenburg in Goteborg, Sweden.

Complications came later: At almost 32 weeks gestation, the woman went to a hospital with the high-blood-pressure condition of pre-eclampsia. Sixteen hours later, she had a caesarean section delivery due to an abnormal fetal heart rate.

The boy was born prematurely but with normal birth weight for that gestational age, and appeared healthy, doctors said.

Mother and child reportedly are doing well.

Womb transplants are intended to become an option for women who are born without a uterus, have a malformed or nonfunctioning uterus, or who have had a hysterectomy because of cancer or other malady.

Dr. Brannstrom credited “more than 10 years of intensive animal research” and surgical training for the successful pregnancy and delivery.

“What is more, we have demonstrated the feasibility of live-donor uterus transplantation, even from a post-menopausal donor,” he said.

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