The United Kingdom has accomplished its first womb transplant procedure, marking a pivotal moment in the nation’s healthcare landscape.
At the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, a surgical team conducted a remarkable nine-hour and 20-minute operation on Sunday, transferring a sister’s womb to her 34-year-old sibling, reported local media sources.
The recipient of the womb, who had been diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH), a rare reproductive condition, embarked on the journey to conceive through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments. However, her sister, a 40-year-old woman who had previously given birth to two children, offered her uterus for donation, leading to the pioneering transplantation.
Lead surgeon Richard Smith, sharing his thoughts with the UK’s Press Association, described the surgical accomplishment as “incredible” and expressed his contentment for both the donor and the recipient. He elaborated on the recipient’s newfound potential for pregnancy, envisioning a hopeful outcome.
The transplant, anticipated to remain viable for up to five years, necessitates the recipient to take immunosuppressant medication to prevent rejection of the implant. Once the transplant’s timeline concludes, the option of either a hysterectomy or another pregnancy becomes available to the recipient.
Isabel Quiroga, another lead surgeon who participated in the procedure, affirmed the optimal functionality of the transplanted womb. The medical team’s success echoes global developments, as womb transplants have previously been conducted in countries like the United States and Sweden.
With the first successful procedure setting a precedent, anticipation builds for the next womb transplant, scheduled to take place in the UK within the coming months, AlJazeera reported.
The achievement has garnered praise from Kate Brintworth, NHS England’s chief midwifery officer, who hailed it as an “amazing milestone.” The horizon for this medical advancement appears promising, as more women express their interest in donating their uteruses to help others, as revealed by Isabel Quiroga.