Sophie Lewis, 30, had gotten the best news as a gift for her 30th birthday. A Swedish Woman born without a womb had recently delivered a baby after a womb transplant. Like Sophie, 15000 other women in the UK alone are diagnosed with a condition called MRKH syndrome which restricts the natural development of a woman’s womb. 

News that the Swedish woman had given birth to a healthy baby boy caused immense joy and was celebrated by couples facing this issue. Sophie had grown up believing she would not be having natural kids. This medical breakthrough is what she and her family were praying for. 

For now, womb transplant and success is by no means guaranteed for the couple but they were one of 65 women who are on the waiting list for this experimental operation in the UK. Doctors led by Richard Smith, a consultant gynaecologist at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London believe that they are not far behind the Swedes. Dr. Smith and his colleagues, including teams in the USA, Hungary, France and Turkey, have been collaborating on the work for years. 

Dr. Richard says that this news is wonderful as it proves their argument that a womb can be transplanted safely and the transplanted womb is strong enough to carry and deliver a baby. This was an important step for which Dr. Smith and his team give credit to the Swedish team and the brave patient who took part in the study. 

The Swedish doctors behind this breakthrough were led by Mats Brännström, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF.  In Sweden, 9 women have had womb transplants (6 are still pregnant and 2 pregnancies failed). The surgery takes about 4 hours and the uterus is monitored for several weeks before a single embryo is implanted.
Challenges of course are that the transplanted womb, a foreign object, would be rejected by the body. Hence strong immunosuppressant drugs must be used do suppress the body’s instinct and immune systems. This may lead to long term side effects such as skin cancer. Even so, women like Sophie are unfazed and are looking forward to this procedure in the UK after this breakthrough.

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