PARIS, Oct 4 : A 36-year-old Swede has become the world's first woman to give birth after receiving a womb transplant, medical journal The Lancet said on Saturday, describing the event as a breakthrough for infertile women.
The healthy baby boy was born last month, it said. Both mother and infant are doing well.
Weighing 1.775 kilos (3.9 pounds), the baby was born by Caesarean section at 31 weeks after the mother developed pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition, the journal said.
The woman had a genetic condition called Rokitansky syndrome which meant she was born without a womb, although her ovaries were intact.
The surgeons said the exploit smashes through the last major barrier of female infertility -- the absence of a uterus as a result of heredity or surgical removal for medical reasons.
"Absolute uterine factor infertility is the only major type of female infertility that is still viewed as untreatable," they said in a paper published by the British journal.
The replacement organ came from a 61-year-old woman, a close family friend who had been through menopause seven years earlier. The organ was transplanted in a 10-hour operation last year.
The recipient underwent in-vitro fertilisation, in which eggs were harvested from her ovaries and fertilised using sperm from her partner, and then cryogenically preserved.
A year after the transplant, a single early-stage embryo was inserted into the transplanted womb. A pregnancy test three weeks later was positive.
The womb encountered a brief episode of rejection, but this was successfully tackled by increasing a dose of corticosteroid drugs to suppress the immune system.
A decade of research
"Our success is based on more than 10 years of intensive animal research and surgical training by our team and opens up the possibility of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine infertility," the Lancet quoted Professor Matts Braennstroem of the University of Gothenburg, who led the operation, as saying.
"What is more, we have demonstrated the feasibility of live-donor uterus transplantation, even from a post-menopausal donor."
Rokitansky syndrome -- Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuester-Hauser syndrome to give it its full name -- affects approximately one in 4,500 newborn girls, previous research has found. ?AFP