Mother with womb transplant says risk paid off

Oct 7, 2014

AP Photo/The Lancet

By Maria Cheng

For the world’s first baby born to a woman with a transplanted womb – a medical first – only a victorious name would do.

Which is why his parents named him “Vincent,” meaning “to conquer,” according to his mother.

The 36-year-old Swedish mother learned she had no womb when she was 15 and was devastated, she said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press.

“I was terribly sad when doctors told me I would never carry my own child,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

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21 comments on “Mother with womb transplant says risk paid off

  • Why

    Don’t underestimate the strong call of maternal instincts.


    Let’s rephrase that, desperate for a child. I’m not condoning the extreme actions of a few, rather, acknowledging the various paths women take to acquire a child to nurture.

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  • As of now, I am neutral about it. Sounds to be a very expensive and risky endeavour. The fact this woman (+ others) strive for a biological child over adoption raises all sorts of interesting questions.

    extreme actions

    I’m thinking of women who crudely extract a baby from another woman’s womb, or outright steal an infant.

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  • “Why the hell would anybody willingly put a foreign uterus inside her? I think she’ mentally unstable.”

    Interesting assumption. Let’s take it all the way:

    Why the hell would anybody willingly put a foreign kidney inside them?

    Or is your objection not that the organ is ‘foreign’ but that it is a sexual reproductive organ?

    If so, I will have to lean toward what another poster said and wonder if you are religiously motivated, because one thing we know, the religious are absolutely obsessed with what other people are doing with their sexual reproductive organs.

    As to risk, it’s really not mine to judge because it is not my risk. People get elective surgery all the time.

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  • people get elective surgery all the time

    Two other parties need to be considered, the donor (albeit willingly), and a fetus, whom may be considered an individual with rights, according to any local laws.

    Unforeseen legal, moral, health, and psychological issues will need to be addressed.

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  • A3KrOn.
    I suppose you’re thinking she should have adopted a baby instead. Where are all these babies up for adoption?
    the state where I live ,New South Wales, supplies this current information:

    . adoption of children under two years of age
    Only around 10-20 infants and young children (under two) are adopted through Community Services each year, so only a small number of couples are included in the local adoption pool of approved applicants.

    That’s 10-20 babies a year in a population of 7.5 million!

    Commercial surrogacy is often illegal, so there are very few options available.

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  • I found this revolting. The woman risked her own health and risked the life of her child, and blew a bundle of medical resources just to inject her genes into the pool. She spat on and rejected all the orphans of the world as unworthy of her care. She could have accomplished that questionable goal much more safely with a surrogate mother.

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  • Roedy. . In many cases, there is no alternative than injecting your own genes into the gene pool. In Australia overseas adoptions are made very difficult to obtain because it is thought better for children to be brought up in their own culture.
    There are very few babies surrendered for adoption due to changing attitudes and provision of services for single mothers ( all well and good).
    Commercial surrogacy is illegal and overseas surrogacy is frowned upon and problematic.
    In the case mentioned, this is probably the only avenue available to the woman. I don’t know why it’s receiving so many negative comments by male writers.

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  • Does every woman who gives birth spit on all of the orphans of the world as unworthy of her care? Really? Giving birth is now a direct assault on orphans? And yet, somehow, choosing a surrogate is not spitting on the orphans of the world. And the surrogate option is not using medical resources? Risked the life of her child? You do realize that without this procedure, there is no life of that child? I don’t think you think much before you spew.

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  • 12
    Charlotte says:

    I don’t see why there’s so much anger directed at this one woman. She was part of a medical trial, including at this point 9 women. Their husbands/partners are undoubtedly included and supporting the idea. The medical team and the Swedish board of Ethics believed in and approved of the project. They have judged that the technique is now safe enough to try on humans. Two more women became pregnant and will soon give birth too. It’s the forefront of science – this wasn’t done by one selfish individual with loads of funding wasted and risks taken. By the individual this may have been about being able to experience carrying a child, for the rest of us it’s an acheievement that will help many many more couples experience the same thing in future.

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  • Hi Charlotte. I agree. I don’t see the problem! Why would the uterus be any more foreign and ‘revolting’ than any other part of the body? Is this because it’s concerned with reproduction? It’s simply a vessel for holding the developing baby, ( her baby). I’m greatly in favour of any measures for providing a biological child for someone who really wants one. I’m not in favour of unwanted, surplus children being born to supply the needs of other childless couples. Might I remind everyone of the bad old days when hoards of ‘orphans’ were housed in orphanages only to be abused by their carers.

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  • Late abortions teach us that, though often necessary and always moral, these not-to-be mums have, more often than early abortion not-to be-mums, at least a few months of mild or profound misery afterwards. Pregnancy brings elevated oxytocin levels at differing levels and a pre-emptive bonding as this study shows. Pregnant, the chemical cuffs are being slipped around your wrists, your autonomy is being breached and a relationship for good or ill is being made.

    Kids never ask to be born and all would be parents act from selfishness of one kind or another. There is no place to demand gratitude from your sprog just for your own feel-goods. The debt is always the reverse of this. So the balance is levelled a little by committing to those chemical cuffs you get only from pregnancy and very small babies, that hard wired obligation that better survives the miserable days and keeps you on your properly grateful track.

    Not all people can manage to work so well with adopted kids, indeed-

    …the charity Adoption UK estimates that as many as one third of adoptions break down after the adoption order has been granted. Its director, Jonathan Pearce, says, ‘Two thirds of adoptive families need significant support to overcome the history of abuse and neglect children bring into their family. Contemporary adoptions are becoming more and more complex…’

    Adopting a child before three is usually a safe bet, for many possible reasons. Less damage will have been done to the child and a good chance of oxytocin cuddle bonding is still possible. But three year olds are in very short supply. Adoption is an astonishing and admirable commitment but too often a misapprehended disaster in the making.

    The 36-year-old Swedish mother learned she had no womb when she was 15 and was devastated…

    This was all I actually needed say.

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  • If I’m not mistaken the transplanted womb came from her own mother…. the womb she once layed in…. thats just too cool and a great day for women!

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  • This is no different than any other organ transplant. It is done routinely all over the planet. Why the hell does the type of organ make any difference?

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  • SHEESH, the majority of people on the planet spit on the orphans on this planet as none of them adopt either. Even the pro-fetus groupies have absolutely no interest in any of the more than 120,000 kids in America that are ready to be adopted every single day They only want designer infants and reject all the rest.

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  • That is a very cool angle. Like wearing your mother’s wedding dress. And it is a good day for women, and for families. I think the driving issue behind a lot of the criticism is that a segment of our population are deeply concerned about the reproductive organs of strangers. There may be some valid, practical concerns, and those are relevant to address—but this notion that I should concern myself with another’s choices, based solely on the particular organs involved, is just ridiculous. The outcome is a mother and child–a family. It’s those that are so wrapped up in the ‘how’ that miss that big picture.

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  • 20
    Charlotte says:

    Just to be nitpicky the article says the uterus came from the mother of one of the daddy’s/husbands friends, so unless he was “secretly” referring to his wife it’s not very likely that she got her own mother’s uterus. (Not that it matters 🙂 )

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  • 21
    Luzenia says:

    That is so wonderful!! I can not imagine the pain of not being able to carry your own child. (if you wanted to) This is truly going to be a gift to so many mothers who can not carry, now they can.

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