LONDON — For the world\'s first baby born to a woman with a
transplanted womb — a medical first — only a victorious
name would do.
Which is why his parents named him \"Vincent,\" meaning
\"to conquer,\" according to his mother.
The 36-year-old Swedish mother learned she had no womb
when she was 15 and was devastated, she said Saturday in
an interview with The Associated Press.
\"I was terribly sad when doctors told me I would never
carry my own child,\" said the woman, who asked not to be
More than a decade later, she heard about research led by
Dr. Mats Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and
gynecology at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm
IVF, on transplanting wombs into women who didn\'t have
one. She immediately signed up.
\"Mats told us there were no guarantees, but my partner
and I, maybe we like to take risks, we thought this was the
perfect idea,\" she said.
The woman\'s mother had wanted to be a donor but wasn\'t a
match. Instead, she received her new womb from a 61-
year-old family friend, who had previously had two sons.
The womb donor is now baby Vincent\'s godmother and her
two sons have also come to visit the family.
\"She is an amazing person and she will always be in our
lives,\" the mother said. \"And she has a very special
connection to my son.\"
Brannstrom said it was \"a fantastic feeling\" to know that
his research had led to Vincent\'s birth.
The feat opens up a new but still experimental alternative
for some of the thousands of women who are unable to have
children because they lost a uterus to cancer or were born
without one. Before this case proved the concept can work,
some experts had questioned whether a transplanted womb
could nourish a fetus.
Others have questioned whether such an extreme step —
expensive and fraught with medical risks — would be a
realistic option for many women.
Dr. Glenn Schattman, past president of the Society for
Assisted Reproductive Technologies and a Cornell University
fertility specialist, said womb transplants are likely to
remain very uncommon.
\"This would not be done unless there were no other
options,\" he said. \"It requires a very long surgery and not
without risk and complications.\"
For the proud parents, the years of research and
experimentation were well worth the wait.
\"It was a pretty tough journey over the years, but we now
have the most amazing baby,\" the father said in a
telephone interview. \"He is very, very cute, and he doesn\'t
even scream, he just murmurs.\"
He said he and his wife, both competitive athletes, were
convinced the procedure would work, despite its
Brannstrom and colleagues transplanted wombs into nine
women over the last two years as part of a study, but
complications forced removal of two of the organs. Earlier
this year, Brannstrom began transferring embryos into the
seven other women. He said there are two other pregnancies
at least 25 weeks along.
Before these cases, there had been two attempts to
transplant a womb — in Saudi Arabia and Turkey — but no
live births resulted. Doctors in Britain, France, Japan,
Turkey and elsewhere are planning to try similar
operations, but using wombs from women who have just died
instead of from live donors.
The Swedish woman had healthy ovaries, but she was born
without a uterus — a syndrome seen in one girl in 4,500.
The donor had gone through menopause after giving birth
to two children.
Brannstrom said that he was surprised such an old uterus
was so successful, but that the most important factor
seemed to be that the womb was healthy.
The recipient has had to take three medicines to prevent
her body from rejecting the new organ. About six weeks
after the transplant, she got her menstrual period — a sign
the womb was healthy.
After one year, when doctors were confident the womb was
working well, they transferred a single embryo created in a
lab dish using the woman\'s eggs and her husband\'s sperm.
The woman, who has only one kidney, had three mild
rejection episodes, including one during pregnancy, but all
were successfully treated. The research was paid for by the
Jane and Dan Olsson Foundation for Science, a Swedish
The baby\'s growth and blood flow to the womb and umbilical
cord were normal until the 31st week of pregnancy, when
the mother developed a dangerous high-blood-pressure
condition called preeclampsia.
After an abnormal fetal heart rate was detected, the baby
was delivered by cesarean section. He weighed 3.9 pounds
(1.8 kg) — normal for that stage of pregnancy. Full
gestation is about 40 weeks. The baby was released from the
neonatal unit 10 days after birth.
Details of the case are to be published soon in the journal
Brannstrom said he was concerned he might have hurt the
womb during the C-section and said they would have to
wait a couple of months before knowing if a second
pregnancy is possible.
\"As soon as I felt this perfect baby boy on my chest, I had
tears of happiness and enormous relief,\" the mother said.
\"I felt like a mother the first time I touched my baby and
was amazed that we finally did it.\"
Though she and her husband are adjusting to some
sleepless nights, she said Vincent is a very calm baby and
they are all enjoying \"the usual amazing moments\" new
She acknowledged that taking the anti-rejection medicines
\"All the medicines are wearing on my body and my other
organs, so we will have to see how it develops,\" she said,
adding she and her husband would be willing to go through
it again for a second baby.
\"I have always had this large sorrow because I never
thought I would be a mother,\" she said. \"And now the
impossible has become real.\"