Do you ever wonder where the ideas come from for groundbreaking surgeries? There are skulls from Egyptian times with holes bored in them…were these the first attempts at brain surgery, and who thought it would be a good idea to drill a hole in someone’s head? Well, this past month, a groundbreaking surgery took place in the field of fertility, and it was all thanks to a question posed by a patient to her doctor.
In 1998, Dr. Mats Brannstrom had to remove the uterus of a young Australian patient to cure her of cancer. That patient asked why she couldn’t have her mother’s uterus transplanted into her body so that she could one day have children.
That set Dr. Brannstrom on a twelve year journey of research and development of a surgery that could potentially change the face of fertility for women who are unable to carry a child of their own due to damaged or missing uteri. Surgeons on Brannstrom’s team trained for years to perfect the technique of uterine transplants, and after seeing successful transplants and pregnancies in animal test subjects, Brannstrom was confident that a human transplant could produce the same success.
Two other transplants have taken place before: one in 2000 using a live transplant, but the transplant did not take, and another that used a deceased woman’s uterus, but has yet to produce a pregnancy. This month Brannstrom and his team of over ten other surgeons performed two surgeries: the first ever live mother to child donations.
The two women who received their mother’s uteri were both missing their own uteri entirely: one woman was born with out a uterus, and the other lost her uterus due to cervical cancer. Both women had her eggs harvested prior to surgery, the eggs were fertilized and the embryos frozen.
The surgeries took at Sahlgrenska Hospital, and both transplants were successful. The mothers who donated their wombs were up and about in a few days time and the daughters who received them were doing fine. Dr. Brannstrom remarked that he is very happy with the success of the surgeries themselves, but says the final mark of success will be the delivery of a healthy baby. Both women will have their embryos implanted in their “new” wombs, one year from the time of their transplant surgery.
RELATED FROM AROUND THE WEB