In a world first, a baby boy was born in Sweden on 8 April 2019 after a robot-assisted uterine transplant
A boy, 48 centimetres long and weighing 2 900 grams, is the first baby born after the technological shift on uterine transplantation.
The birth, a planned cesarean delivery (C-section), took place on Monday, 8 April. Mother and child are doing well.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to deliver such a special, longed-for child. To have been part of the whole process, from the first meeting with the couple to the uterus transplant, and now to see everyone’s joy when what we’ve hoped for becomes reality. It’s simply wonderful,” says Pernilla Dahm-Kähler, a leading robot-assisted surgeon and gynaecologist on the team and research scientist at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
Keyhole uterine transplantation
The donor was operated on with robot-assisted keyhole surgery in October 2017.
For the procedure, which is considerably less invasive than traditional open surgery, one-centimetre incisions were made in the abdomen, and robotic arms holding the surgical instruments were guided by two surgeons. The surgeons, seated a few metres away from the patient, used magnified 3D screen images to allow immense precision for operating deep inside the lower abdomen.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to deliver such a special, longed-for child” – Dr Pernilla Dahm-Kähler
Towards the end of the procedure, another incision is made so that the uterus can be removed. It is then immediately inserted into the recipient by means of open surgery. The new technique makes a big difference for the donors, who generally feel better afterwards and get back on their feet faster.
“This is an extremely important step towards developing the surgery involved in uterine transplantation and its safety. For the first time, we’re showing that the less invasive robot-assisted surgical technique is practicable,” says Mats Brännström, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, heads the research work.
Embryo implanted 10 months after surgery
Ten months later an in vitro fertilised embryo was inserted into the transplanted uterus. A few weeks later the doctors were able to confirm pregnancy with a distinct heartbeat.
The pregnancy has been free from complications, with the mother in good health throughout.
“In the future, we’re also going to be able to transplant the uterus in the recipient using robot-assisted keyhole technique,” says Niclas Kvarnström, the transplant surgeon in charge within the project, and the person who performs the intricate task of connecting vessels in the uterus recipient.
15 Babies born from a transplanted uterus
The child now born is the number nine in Sweden following a uterus transplant and number one in what the researchers call “the Robot Project” – in which more pregnancies and babies are expected in the years ahead.
Six transplantations were performed in 2017-2018, and the team is also poised to perform the first uterine transplant using an organ from a deceased donor.
To date, a total of 15 babies worldwide have been born from a transplanted uterus. Besides the nine born within the scope of this Sahlgrenska Academy research, there are two in the United States and one in each of Brazil, Serbia, India and China.
Source: University of Gothenburg via www.sciencedaily.com
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