History was made in China on November 20, as the county’s first womb transplant was carried out successfully on a 22-year-old woman with a uterus donated by her mother. According to a statement by the Xijing Hospital which is affiliated to the Fourth Military Medical University, the transplanted organ had been accepted by the recipient and she was recovering well after the successful surgery.
The recipient, Yang Hua, from northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, never experienced menstruation like other girls. In 2013, a diagnosis…an ultrasonic image showed that she was congenitally absent of uterus and vagina.
Doctors offered Yang, who wanted to have her own baby, the only feasible solution…a womb transplant, a difficult medical challenge worldwide. Chen Biliang, director of the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department said that the complex of blood vessels are difficult to connect, and there is a high risk of rejection.
However, the surgery was granted ethical approval by the hospital’s ethics committee, noting that the donor and recipient are mother and daughter, thereby no legal conflicts over the offspring would ensue.
Before the transplant, Yang firstly underwent two colpoplasties earlier this year. The doctors also created and froze embryos using eggs from Yang’s own functioning ovary and sperm from her partner, so that healthy embryos could be transferred into the new womb, allowing Yang to carry her own biological child.
On November 20, 38 surgeons jointly performed the operation on Yang and her mother. A robot assisted in removing the mother’s uterus before transplanting it into the daughter’s body. The whole process took 14 hours.
Chen said the successful practice offered hope to those suffering infertility problems because they are born without a womb or forced to remove it due to cancer or other diseases. It could also in theory open the door for men who want to bear children of their own.
“It could be possible to transfer a womb into a man’s body after surgery and drug therapy,” Chen said.
-Photos of Yang and her husband showing their gratitude to the doctors at the military hospital.