Oxford surgeons have completed the first womb transplant operation in the United Kingdom.
Both the receiver, a lady of 34 years old, and the donor, the recipient’s sister, who is 40 years old, prefer to maintain their privacy at this time.
Both patients are said to have made a full recovery from their surgeries, and the younger sister, together with her husband, now has many embryos frozen and stored in preparation for their transfer.
In February, at the Churchill Hospital, a team of more than 30 people carried out the surgeries, which lasted for around 17 hours and took place in neighboring operating theatres.
The surgical staff not long after the completion of the operation
Her sister already had two children and had finished off her family unit with them. Both of my sisters make their home in England.
Professor Richard Smith, a gynecological surgeon who headed the team that was responsible for organ retrieval, has worked in the field of womb transplantation research for the last 25 years. He reported to them that it was a “huge success.”
He said that the event as a whole was quite emotional. A few of us shed a few tears after the event.
The recipient of the womb transplant was overjoyed, according to the transplant surgeon Isabel Quiroga, who headed the team that implanted the womb. “She was totally over the moon, extremely joyful, and is hopeful that she may go on to have not one but two kids,” the surgeon said. Her womb is doing just as it should, and we are keeping a cautious eye on how she is doing.
Two weeks following the procedure, the lady had her first bout of menstruation. She, like all other transplant patients, must take immunosuppressive medicines in order to prevent her body from rejecting the new tissue. Because of the potential adverse effects on a person’s health over the long run, the uterus will be eliminated when a maximum of two pregnancies have been carried to term.
She was born with a rare disorder known as Type 1 Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH), which means that she was born without a uterus or with an undeveloped uterus, but she has ovaries that are able to function normally. Before she had surgery, she and her husband underwent fertility therapy, and now they have eight embryos frozen for future use.
Both patients went through therapy before their surgeries, and the Human Tissue Authority looked over their cases and gave its approval. The expenses incurred by the NHS, which were expected to be $25,000, were covered by the charity known as Womb Transplant UK. More than thirty of the staff members who participated in the event offered their time without charge.
Prof. Smith, the Chairman of Womb Transplant UK, said that the team had been approved to carry out a total of 15 transplants, five with living donors and ten with deceased, brain-dead donors, but in order to pay for all of the surgeries, the team would need an additional £300,000 in funding.
He said that “the distressing fact is that there are presently more than 15,000 women of child-bearing age in our nation who are suffering with Absolute Uterine Factor Infertility.” They either did not have a womb when they were born, or they have had a hysterectomy because of cancer or another abnormality of the womb.
In 2014, a lady in Sweden became the first person in the world to give birth to a child after a successful womb transplant. She had gotten a womb from a friend who was in her 60s and had given it to her.
Since then, there have been one hundred transplantations of the womb performed all over the globe, and around fifty kids have been born as a result. The majority of these births have taken place in the United States and Sweden; however, they have also taken place in Turkey, India, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, and France.
2015 was the year when the United Kingdom finally gave its surgeons the green light to commence womb transplant procedures. The team wrote an article about their findings published at that British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology,that in which they highlighted “institutional delays” and Covid as the reasons why it took the United Kingdom so long to execute its first surgery.
Womb Transplant UK said that more than 500 women had contacted the charity with the intention of taking part in the initiative. Additionally, about a dozen of these women had embryos in storage or were undergoing fertility therapy, which is a requirement for being placed on the waiting list.
One of them is a woman named Lydia Brain, who is 31 years old and had to get a hysterectomy because she had womb cancer. At the age of 24, she was finally given a diagnosis after years of struggling with heavy periods and bleeding in between her cycles, which caused her to become anemic. The fertility therapy that she and her boyfriend underwent cost them a total of £15,000, and they are currently keeping six embryos frozen.
Lydia Brain is holding out hope that she will be able to get a transplant.
Lydia expressed her elation after hearing the news of the first successful womb transplant in the UK and referred to the procedure as “miraculous.”
“Infertility was a significant part of the effect my cancer had on my life,” she said in an interview with . Because you can’t avoid encountering pregnant individuals, newborns, or acquaintances who are entering that stage of their lives, it has an impact on you on a daily basis.
She said that if she could get on the waiting list for a womb transplant, it “would mean everything” to her because she wants “at least once” to “carry my own kid and have that experience, being able to nurse and to have a newborn baby.” She also wants to “carry my own child and have that experience” of being able to “carry my own child.”
Lydia said that she would give both surrogacy and adoption some thought but acknowledged that both were challenging options. She elaborated by saying that “the regulations and the procedure are quite complex,” adding that “you frequently don’t receive a newborn infant” when you adopt a child.
Lydia currently works for the charity Eve Appeal, which promotes awareness and supports research into the five types of gynecological malignancies (womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval, and vaginal), as well as funding research into those illnesses.