Woman, 38, gives birth to baby boy after receiving a uterus transplant from her twin sister

June 30, 2018  18:35

A 38-year-old woman who received a uterus transplant from her twin sister has given birth to a baby boy.

The infant was born via c-section on Thursday at Sant'Orsola Hospital in Bologna, Italy, weighing about 6.5 pounds.

According to several media outlets, this is the twelfth successful birth in the world due to a uterus transplant and the first such transplant conducted between twins.

Experts say this breakthrough in surgery and technology could provide hope for thousands of women with the same condition to fulfill dreams of motherhood.

The mother, a Serbian woman living in Italy, was born without a uterus due to a congenital malformation, reported Bologna Today.

Although it has yet to be confirmed, it's likely the woman was suffering from Rokitansky Syndrome, or MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser), a congenital abnormality characterized by the absence of a vagina, womb and cervix.

Women suffering from the condition will have normally functioning ovaries and will experience the normal signs of puberty - but will not have periods or be able to conceive.

It is said to affect one in 4,500 female births worldwide.

The transplant was conducted in March 2017 at University Children's Hospital in Belgrade by the Swedish medical team of Dr Mats Brännström, director of the Stockholm IVF Clinic and a pioneer of the uterus transplant technique.   

Also assisting were doctors from the Serbian hospital as well as physicians from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr Brännström was behind the first successful birth from a transplanted uterus in 2014 in Sweden and is responsible for eight of the 12 births. 

He added at a press conference on Thursday that one woman is currently pregnant from such a transplant.

The first uterus transplant birth in the US occurred in November 2017 at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas led by a doctor who was part of the original transplant team in Sweden.

The technique has also been carried out in China, Germany and Turkey and, this year, the UK is preparing for its first womb transplant operations to take place.

According to Bologna Today, the explant lasted 10 hours while the transplant lasted 5 hour, for a procedure lasting a total of 15 hours. Doctors say neither sister suffered complications during the procedure.

The sister who donated her uterus was said to already have three children.

After the transplant, the woman traveled to Stockholm to perform an IVF procedure using a cryopreserved, or frozen, embryo from her and her husband.

According to Bologna Today, the transplant and IVF procedure cost around 50,000 euros, or almost $58,000.

Several Italian media outlets said the mother cried out with joy after the baby boy was delivered.

The patient was under the care of Dr Luca Gianaroli, of the Italian Society for the Study of Reproductive Medicine (SISMeR), who said there were no problems during the woman's pregnancy and childbirth. 

'This incredible result is the result of the combination of some of the most sophisticated surgical techniques and important technological innovations in the field of assisted reproduction, which today allow us to offer solutions to cases of infertility and sterility so far considered hopeless,' said Dr Gianaroli at a press conference on Thursday.

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