For one family in Sweden, a pioneering procedure has led to a baby being born from the same womb that nurtured his mother, uniting three generations.
The new mother, who lost her own uterus to cancer in her 20s, said it was "unimaginable" that she now had her own child, thanks to her mother's donated womb.
Advertisement"It can't be described how happy we are," she told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. "It's everything that I hoped for and a little bit more," said the woman, who asked that she and her mother not be identified in order to protect the privacy of her 9-month-old son.
Dr Mats Brannstrom, who is behind the revolutionary process, has ushered in four babies-all boys with transplanted wombs; a fifth is on the way. He said there was something very special about this case: "It's one uterus bridging three generations of a family."
Before his breakthrough, there had been two attempts to transplant a womb in Saudi Arabia and Turkey but no live births. Doctors in Britain, France, the United States and elsewhere are planning similar operations with wombs from women who have died recently, not living donors.
Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Hospital at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF, first transplanted wombs into nine women about two years ago as part of an experimental study, including the new mother, who was the first. Complications forced the removal of two of the wombs.
The women in the trial were either born without a womb or had it removed due to cancer.
The new mother, in her early 30s, recalled that as hospital staffers wheeled in her mother for the transplant, "I was crying and told her I loved her and thank you for doing this." The woman's mother, the baby's grandmother said she immediately agreed when her daughter raised the idea.
The proud grandmother, in her mid-50s, acknowledged she has difficulty understanding the magnitude of the birth, but "at the same time, I sometimes think that I am a part of history."
The new mother underwent in vitro fertilization to make embryos using her eggs and her husband's sperm. Doctors waited a year after the transplant to ensure everything was OK.
After four attempts to transfer embryos into the new womb, she got pregnant. There were no complications, and she delivered via cesarean section, as planned.
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