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Medical first: Baby born to woman who got new womb

In a medical first, a woman in Sweden has given birth after receiving a womb transplant, the doctor who performed the pioneering procedure said Friday.

The 36-year-old mother received a uterus from a family friend last year. Her baby boy was born prematurely but healthy last month, and mother and child are at home and doing well. The identities of the woman and her husband were not disclosed.

"The baby is fantastic," said 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, a midwife. "But it is even better to see the joy in the parents and how happy he made them."

The feat opens up a new but still experimental alternative for some of the thousands of women each year who are unable to have children because they lost a uterus to cancer or were born without one. Before this case proved the concept can work, some experts had questioned whether a transplanted womb would be able to nourish a fetus.

Others have questioned whether such an extreme step — expensive and fraught with medical risks — would even be a realistic option for many women.

Dr. Glenn Schattman, past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies and a Cornell University fertility specialist, said womb transplants are likely to remain very uncommon.

Brannstrom and colleagues transplanted wombs into nine women over the past two years as part of a study, but complications forced removal of two of the organs. This year, Brannstrom began transferring embryos into the seven other women. He said there are two other pregnancies at least 25 weeks along.

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