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23rd Aug 2023

World’s first womb transplant a ‘massive success’ in the UK

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The world’s first-ever womb transplant has been deemed a “massive success” after a woman received a uterus from a living donor.

A 34-year-old woman received the womb following a nine-hour and 20-minute long operation at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

The donor, who was the woman’s 40-year-old sister, had already completed her own family and was willing to donate the organ.

The woman who received the womb had stored embryos with the aim of undergoing IVF with her husband.

The surgery has been deemed “quite remarkable” by Professor Richard Smith, clinical lead at the charity Womb Transplant UK and has been a “massive success”.

He added: “It was incredible. I think it was probably the most stressful week in my surgical career but also unbelievably positive.

“The donor and recipient are over the moon, just over the moon.

“I’m just really happy that we’ve got a donor who is completely back to normal after her big op and the recipient is, after her big op, doing really well on her immunosuppressive therapy and looking forward to hopefully having a baby.”

The woman who received the womb was born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) which is a rare condition affecting one in every 5,000 women.

The condition sees women have an underdeveloped vagina and underdeveloped or missing womb, with the earliest sign of this being the lack of a period.

Despite this, the ovaries are still functioning and able to produce eggs making conception through IVF still possible.

Ahead of the transplant, the woman had undergone two rounds of fertility stimulation to produce eggs as well as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to create embryos.

Five embryos then reached blastocyst stage, which gave them a good chance of success through IVF and were then frozen.

The woman is now on track to undergo IVF later this year, with the womb lasting up to five years before it is needed to be removed.

There is a second womb transplant now scheduled in the UK this coming autumn.