Talk about the circle of life! Two women recently made history -- and headlines -- when they became the first-ever daughters to give birth using transplanted wombs from their own mothers, the Daily Mail reports. The babies (both boys) were delivered last month via C-section in Sweden, and are home now with their families.
The new mamas are part of a brave group of nine women without wombs, either from birth or from cancer, who are willing to get pregnant and give birth using a transplanted uterus. To say the experimental procedure is long and arduous is an understatement. In this case, doctors removed some eggs from the daughters, fertilized them in a dish, and froze the embryos until the donated wombs were ready. Next, each mom underwent a grueling 10-hour procedure to remove her uterus, including two main arteries and four veins. Then, doctors transplanted the wombs into the daughters -- an operation that typically takes about six hours -- and put them on powerful immunosuppressants to prevent the organ from being rejected. After that, the daughters waited an entire year before their embryos could be inserted, just to make sure the transplant was a success.
Henrik Hagberg, a professor in fetal medicine at King's College in London who attended the first birth via transplanted womb, said the daughters were understandably skeptical about the procedure. Still, the mothers' unbelievable act of generosity didn't go unnoticed. "It is an absolutely extraordinary gift," he told the Daily Mail. "It is probably the best thing you can do for your daughter."
Though the procedure is relatively new, the results have been promising so far. Four women have gotten pregnant and three have delivered babies including the first "miracle" birth in September. Still, doctors caution that transplanted wombs aren't a solution for all infertility issues. "There is no doubt that the birth of two more babies is encouraging and is further evidence that the project is successful," Professor Geeta Nargund, medical director of the Create Fertility in central London, told the Daily Mail. "It's exciting, complex surgery being done by very skilled surgeons. It is promising for women who need womb transplants but quite clearly it is something that would happen in specialist centers. It is not something that is going to be widespread like IVF."
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Image of newborn and mom courtesy of Shutterstock