Surgeons performed the UK’s first uterus transplant on a woman whose sister was a living donor.
The 34-year-old married woman received the uterus – also called the uterus – in an operation that lasted nine hours and 20 minutes at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital.
His 40-year-old sister had already had two children and was willing to donate her womb.
The recipient, who lives in England and does not wish to be identified, has stored embryos with the aim of undergoing IVF later this year.
Here MailOnline answers all the questions you may have about this innovative procedure.
Surgeons performed the UK’s first uterus transplant on a woman whose sister was a living donor. Pictured: The surgical team behind the UK’s first womb transplant
– What has happened?
Surgeons performed the UK’s first uterus transplant on a 34-year-old woman whose older sister donated the organ.
In a complex procedure, the medical team removed the uterus from the 40-year-old woman and implanted it directly into her sister.
Both women have recovered well.
– Has a baby been born?
Not yet. Experts want to make sure the transplant is stable and the uterus is fully functioning before the younger woman undergoes IVF.
She has stored five embryos and will receive fertility treatment later this year in central London.
The woman hopes to have more than one baby.
Once your family is complete, your uterus will be removed to prevent you from needing immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of your life.
– Has the NHS paid for the operation?
No. Each womb transplant costs around £25,000 and is fully funded by the Womb Transplant UK charity.
This includes payment to the NHS for time in the operating room and the patient’s stay in a room.
The operations are only carried out at times when the NHS is not using the operating room, so they do not affect normal NHS waiting lists.
The surgeons and medical personnel involved in the transplant have not received remuneration for the operation and have given their time free of charge.
– Have other uterus transplants been performed in the world?
More than 90 uterus transplants have been performed internationally, with the majority of operations involving a living donor.
The first successful womb transplant took place in Sweden in 2014, and the baby boy, Vincent, was born to a 36-year-old woman who described him as “perfect.”
In 2000, a 26-year-old woman in Saudi Arabia underwent a transplant, but the donor uterus survived for only 99 days due to problems with the blood supply.
To date, uterine transplants have been performed in more than 10 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Sweden, the United States, China, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Germany, Serbia, and India.
The 34-year-old married woman received the uterus – also called the uterus – in an operation that lasted nine hours and 20 minutes at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital. Pictured: The surgical team behind the UK’s first womb transplant
The recipient, who lives in England and does not wish to be identified, has stored embryos with the aim of undergoing IVF later this year. Pictured: The surgical team behind the UK’s first womb transplant
– How successful is the operation?
Data from the US show that more than half of women who received a uterus transplant in the US had successful pregnancies.
Between 2016 and 2021, 33 women received uterine transplants in the US, and as of last summer, 19 of them (58 percent) had given birth to a total of 21 babies.
In 74 percent of those who received a uterus, the organ was still functioning a year after the transplant, and 83 percent of this group had children born alive.
– Will there be more transplants in the UK?
Yes. Britain’s second womb transplant is due to take place this autumn and experts believe a maximum of 20 to 30 a year could be performed in the UK in future.
Transplants could help women born without a functioning uterus and those who lose their organ due to cancer or other conditions.
Estimates suggest that there are 15,000 UK women of childbearing age who do not have a functioning uterus.
– Will there be a shortage of donor uteruses?
Womb Transplant UK is running two programmes, one with living donors and one with organs from deceased people.
Until now, the UK’s living donor program has focused on women with relatives who are willing to donate their uterus.
However, the team believes that in the future, the living donor program will be expanded to include friends or altruistic living donors. Currently, this is more common in the US.
The team evaluates the use of deceased donors on a case-by-case basis.
– Will it help trans women?
Experts have previously raised the possibility that trans women could benefit from womb transplants.
However, experts say there is still a long way to go.
Professor Richard Smith, a consultant gynecological surgeon at Imperial College London, is one of the doctors who carried out the operation.
He said differences in the pelvis, arteries and veins, and microorganisms between men and women mean the procedure is not a “technical feasibility.”
Professor Smith added: ‘My own feeling is that if there are going to be transgender transplants, it’s many years away. There are many steps to follow.
“My suspicion is at least 10 to 20 years old.”