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Swedish docs in 'world first' womb transplant

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Swedish docs in 'world first' womb transplant
10:06 CEST+02:00
The world’s first uterine transplant between a mother and daughter was successfully achieved in a Gothenburg hospital on the weekend, when two daughters were given their mothers' uteri.

“Everything went well with the procedures, there were no complications and the patients are feeling well,” press spokesperson of the project Krister Svahn to The Local.

"Everything went according to plan."

The transplants mark the world’s first mother to daughter transplants and the result of 14 thorough years of research at the University of Gothenburg.

The two womb recipients, both in their thirties, went under the knife on Saturday and Sunday in a project that Svahn refers to as “the world’s most totally studied research project.”

“We’ve produced forty scientific works on the subject, tested the procedure clinically from mice up to larger animals, and then made transplants through diseased donors. It’s been extremely well studied,” he said.

Meanwhile, team leader Mats Brännström, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Gothenburg, explained that the team of surgeons had trained together “for years” before undertaking the “complicated” surgery.

“Both patients that received new uteri are doing fine but are tired after surgery. The donating mothers are up and walking and will be discharged from the hospital within a few days,” he said in a statement.

One of the patients had had her uterus removed previously due to cancer and the other was born without a uterus.

"The mothers who donated their uteruses are already up and walking and are going to be able to go home within a few days," Brännström told AFP.

Brännström explained at a press conference that the young women would have to wait one year before trying to get pregnant.

They will then undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) with frozen embryos consisting of their own eggs fertilized with their partner's sperm prior to the organ transplant procedure.

"So we will only really know if this is successful in 2014, if and when the women have given birth to a child," Brännström said.

He would not speculate on the chances of the women becoming pregnant, but noted that in regular IVF treatments the chance of delivering a baby after an embryo transfer was 25 to 30 percent.

Brännström said the transplanted uteruses would be removed after the women have had "up to two children", so they can stop taking the immunosuppressant medication that helps their bodies accept the transplant.

The women, whose names were not revealed, were selected for the procedure after a lengthy examination process to ensure she and her partner were fertile and good candidates.

Their mothers were used as donors because of the "theoretical advantage" of having a close relative as a donor, Olausson said, and "because the uterus had proven its functionality in being able to bear a child," Braennstroem added.

Eight more women are due to undergo the procedure in Sweden during the autumn and spring.

While the weekend's operations were the first successful mother-daughter transplants in the world, similar successes have been recorded elsewhere. A uterus transplant between two unrelated women took place in Saudi Arabia in 2002.

The aim of the research, according to the university, is to enable women who had their uterus removed at a young age due to cervical cancer or who were born without a uterus to receive a new womb through transplantation.

Fourteen girls are born every year without a uterus in Sweden, and between 2,000 and 3,000 women of childbearing age cannot have children because they lack a uterus.

The Local/AFP/og

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