The Amazing Doctor Who Delivered a Baby from a Transplanted Womb
There has been a breakthrough in health care: a woman in Sweden has given birth to a healthy baby boy after receiving a womb transplant just one short year ago.
The 36-year-old mother received a uterus from a family friend last year and gave birth to her premature, but healthy, son last month. News of the delivery was not announced until yesterday, Oct. 3, to ensure the baby’s and mother’s well being.
But who is behind the delivery, and more importantly, the transplant?
The answer to that is Dr. Mats Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF who led the research and delivered the baby with the help of his wife.
Brannstrom previously led an initiative beginning in September 2012 to transplant wombs in ten women who were born without a uterus or had it removed because of cervical cancer. One woman, however, had to drop out of the procedure due to medical reasons, bringing the total number to nine.
In the experimental procedure that raised ethical concerns, the nine women successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and ignited hope amongst women unable to have children.
While complications arose in two of the women participating in the experiment, forcing removal of the organs, earlier this year Brannstrom began transferring embryos into the seven other women, according to AP. Two pregnancies are now at least 25 weeks along.
Before these cases, there had been two attempts to transplant a womb – in Saudi Arabia and Turkey – but no live births resulted. Doctors in Britain, France, Japan and Turkey continue to try similar operations but use wombs from women who have recently died instead of from live donors.
Brannstrom has said that using live donors allowed them to ensure the donated wombs were functional and didn’t have any problems such as an HPV infection.
A Controversial Topic
The procedure raised concerns from experts about whether it was ethical to use live donors since it was not a life-saving event while others, such as bioethics expert John Harris, didn’t see a problem with the procedure, arguing the fact that kidney transplants do not save lives and are yet widely promoted.
While ethical concerns remain at bay, the procedure still remains highly unlikely to become common practice.
According to Dr. Glenn Schattman, past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies and a Cornell University fertility specialist, the procedure “would not be done unless there were no other options,” he told AP. “It requires a very long surgery and not without risks and complications.”
A Successful Delivery
The Swedish mother received a uterus from her 61-year-old family friend. Brannstrom was initially surprised to see an aged uterus be successful but was more concerned on the health of the womb.
After one year of evaluation, Brannstrom was convinced the womb was working well and transferred a single embryo created in a lab dish using the woman’s eggs and her husband’s sperm.
The baby's growth and blood flow to the womb and umbilical cord were normal until the 31st week of pregnancy, when the mother developed a dangerous high-blood-pressure condition called preeclampsia.
After an abnormal fetal heart rate was detected, the baby was delivered by cesarean section. He weighed 3.9 pounds — normal for that stage of pregnancy. The baby was released from the neonatal unit 10 days after birth.
“He's no different from any other child, but he will have a good story to tell,” the father said. “One day he can look at the newspaper articles about how he was born and know that he was the first in the world to be born this way.”
Details of the case are to be published in the journal Lancet.
LG launches purpose-built smart TV for hospitals
LG Business Solutions USA has announced two new hospital TVs that are designed to improve patient management and engagement while adhering to critical safety standards for healthcare facilities.
One of the TVs is LG's biggest ever screen for a hospital - the 65-inch 4K Ultra HD model. It has LG’s NanoCell display technology, enabling it to display vivid pictures, and provides built-in support for hospital pillow speakers and embedded broadband LAN capability, so hospitals can deliver video on demand without requiring a separate set-top box in the patient room.
It also includes configuration software with an intuitive interface for setting up the TV to work in a hospital setting, plus a software-enabled access point feature that turns the TV into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The second TV screen is the 15-inch Personal Healthcare Smart Touch TV with a multi-touch screen. It is designed to be installed on an adjustable arm for use in shared spaces or smaller patient rooms and will support LG's new, modular LG AM-AC21EA video camera, and HD video communication.
Both include support for video conferencing, and are UL Certified for use in healthcare facilities, a global safety standard. They also feature LG’s integrated Pro:Centric hospital management solutions, allowing hospitals and LG’s patient engagement development partners to personalise a patient's room, providing entertainment, hospital information, services, patient education, and more.
Additionally its communication platform makes it possible to conduct video calls between patients and clinicians or family.
“Our newest LG hospital TVs reflect ongoing feedback from the industry and include capabilities integrated to meet the unique needs of a critical market” said Tom Mottlau, Director of Healthcare Solutions, LG Electronics USA.
“Our healthcare patient engagement development partners requested an upgradable version of webOS for our Pro:Centric smart TV platform so they could more easily introduce new features for their hospital customers. For the latest versions of webOS, LG worked closely with our partners to make their request a reality and to deliver a hospital TV platform that can evolve over time.”