A woman in Sweden is the mother of a healthy baby boy after having a uterus transplant. The baby, named Vincent (meaning “to conquer”) is the first baby to be born following such a transplant and proof-of-concept of the procedure’s success.
The road to this birth began in 1999 as a research project at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The project’s goal was to enable women who had lost their wombs in cancer treatment or who were born without them to be able to give birth to their on children as opposed to the alternatives of adoption or surrogacy. The first hand transplant in 1998 opened the door to uterine transplant as an option to improve quality of life in patients needing non-vital organs.
The procedure utilizes donated uterus from either family (namely the woman’s mother) and family friends who have gone through menopause. Vincent’s birth marks success of the procedure, which is designed to be temporary allowing the woman to bear one or two children and then have the uterus removed. In the case of Vincent’s mother, a 36-year-old women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH) and born without a womb, the donated uterus came from a 61-year-old family friend and the pregnancy resulted from IVF.
Vincent was born via caesarean section in September at 32 weeks due to his mother developing preeclampsia. Professor Mats Brannstrom, who performed the caesarean section, speculated that the preeclampsia might be realted to the iummunosuppressive treatment combined with the patient missing one kidney as a result of MRKH in addition to the age of the transplanted uterus and that preeclampsia is not uncommon in pregnancies resulting from IVF. Despite his premature birth, Vincent was born healthy and a normal size for his age at 3 lbs 14.6 oz. Mother was discharged from the hospital after three days and Vincent went home after 16 in good health.
Ten other women have been given similar transplants, including at least one who received her mother’s donated uterus, though two have had to have the transplanted organ removed due to rejection or infection. Vincent’s mother had mild rejection symptoms during her pregnancy, but they were mitigated with appropriate medication. Of the remaining transplant recipients two of them are reported to be at least 25-weeks along in their own pregnancies. As for Vincent’s own family, his parents do have remaining embryos that can be used so it’s not impossible that researchers will be able to test how the transplanted uterus performs in a second pregnancy should his parents decided to give him a sibling.