Birthing babies from transplanted wombs is something Dr. Mats Brannstrom of Sweden is familiar with.
Dr. Brannstrom has accomplished womb transplants a dazzling total of four times, (with a fifth on the way). But it’s his most recent trip into this medical frontier that is his most unique.
A woman, who is choosing to remain unnamed to protect the privacy of her newborn, gave birth to a healthy boy in Sweden this week as a result of a successful womb transplant under Dr. Brannstrom, receiving a womb from none other than her own mother, who is in her 50s. The womb that fostered her own growth into the world has now grown her son.
The new mother is elated as she fought uterus cancer in her 20s and never imagined she would be able to carry her own child.
“It can’t be described how happy we are,” she is quoted as saying in an article published in The Globe and Mail. “It’s everything that I hoped for and a little bit more…Feeling him (my son) against my cheek was the most wonderful feeling ever.”
The baby has the middle name of Mats, as a tribute to Dr. Brannstrom’s contributions.
The baby’s mother underwent regular in vitro fertilization to make embryos using her eggs and her husband’s sperm, and she waited a year after the womb was transplanted to try for pregnancy. According to reports, it took four attempts to transfer embryos successfully and she delivered via a planned cesarean section after a full term pregnancy without complications.
While successful transplants take place every day, experts are cheering for Brannstrom. Moving the womb is an especially delicate and difficult procedure to complete. For those who like to imagine the gory details, the womb must be very carefully grafted onto the recipient’s major veins and arteries for success.
“This was impossible until Brannstrom did it,” Dr. Antonio Gargiulo, an associate reproductive endocrinologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is quoted as saying in The Globe and Mail.
Dr. Brannstrom is currently working on procedures with doctors in India, Singapore, Lebanon and Argentina and planning more groundbreaking transplant procedures, using wombs from recently deceased women and robotic surgery.
The new mom and baby are recovering from the birth and likely trying to get some much needed sleep, with grandma standing proudly by, hopefully feeling a part of birthing history.