A baby boy carried into a womb implanted in his mother by a robot is born in a world first.
The youngster, who has not been named, weighed six pounds and 13 ounces when he was born by planned Caesarean section in Sweden last month. The child and his 35-year-old mother are doing well.
The pregnancy was made possible when a family member agreed to donate her uterus to the mother, who then had a fertilized egg implanted through IVF. The case marks the first time that robots have been used for the procedure.
It will give hope to the tens of thousands of American women who don’t have a uterus — which may be due to cancer or a medical condition — or who have one unable to bear babies.
Surgeons have used robots to help perform the surgery in Sweden, which are less invasive and reduce the risk of developing an infection
The case was revealed by surgeons from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, a leader in uterus transplants.
During the surgery, the researchers began by removing the donor uterus by gradually cutting it from the blood vessels and pulling it through the vagina.
Small incisions were made on the side of the second patient near the pelvis, and the uterus was implanted there. It was connected to their blood vessels and their vagina.
Surgeons inserted cameras and robotic arms with surgical instruments attached through the small entry holes in the lower abdomen to perform the procedure – robotic arms being the first for this type of surgery.
The arms were steered via joysticks, with surgeons using consoles to simultaneously view 3D images of the patient’s interior.
This method is less invasive than the standard uterine transplant, which involves opening larger openings in patients.
It is also believed to reduce the risk of infections, bleeding and allows patients to return to their daily lives more quickly.
The transplant took place in October 2021 at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ten months later, an embryo was created by IVF before being inserted into the transplanted uterus, and a few weeks later the pregnancy was verified.
Dr. Pernilla Dahm-Kähler said they were able to perform ultra-thin surgery with robots. Dr. Niclas Kvarnström added: “Thanks to the robot-assisted technique, it is possible to perform procedures that were previously considered impossible to perform with standard keyhole surgery.”
The mother-to-be felt well throughout her pregnancy, which has now ended with a caesarean section scheduled for the 38th week at the end of May 2023.
Pernilla Dahm-Kähler, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, was the lead surgeon for the complex recipient operation.
She said, “With robot-assisted surgery, we can perform ultra-fine precision surgery.
“The technique gives very good access to operate deep in the pelvis. This is the surgery of the future, and we are proud and happy to have been able to develop uterine transplants at this minimally invasive technical level.
Dr Niclas Kvarnström, the transplant surgeon who performed the complicated suturing of blood vessels in the recipient, added: “With the robot-assisted technique, it is possible to perform procedures that were previously considered impossible to perform with surgery. in standard keyhole.
“It is a privilege to be part of the evolution in this field with the overall goal of minimizing patient trauma from surgery.”
The work is led by Mats Brännström, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and gynecologist and senior consultant physician at University Hospital.
He said: “This is the 14th baby born in the womb transplant project at Sahlgrenska Academy, and more births are expected this summer.”
“The research project continuously assesses many variables in donors, recipients and children after womb transplantation, following the operation for several years thereafter.
“All of this is done to maximize the efficiency of the operation and minimize side effects in patients.”
In the United States, approximately one in 5,000 women is born with a genetic condition that means she does not have a uterus.
Women may also have a uterus that is structurally unable to contain a developing fetus. It may also need to be removed due to conditions such as uterine cancer, which affects around 3,300 women under the age of 40 each year.
Womb transplants have been available for women since 2014, but do not use robotic arms.
A total of 33 have been performed in the United States to date, with the majority being performed at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas.
Globally, it is estimated that 90 uterus transplants worldwide have been performed and around 50 babies have been born.
Previous patients have included mother of five Aprill Lane, who donated her own womb at the age of 39 so another woman could have children.
The research group has extended the methods and techniques through the direct transfer of knowledge to several centers around the world.