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RCOG welcomes the success of the UK’s first womb transplant

23 Aug 2023

Today, a new paper in BJOG details the success of the UK’s first womb transplant.

Surgeons have performed the womb transplant on a woman with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare condition that affects the female reproductive organs where the womb is underdeveloped. The donor was the woman’s sister, who having completed her own family, was willing to donate her womb to her sister. The recipient of the womb plans to undergo IVF later this year, using stored embryos.

The transplant was undertaken as part of the UK living donor programme, which is sponsored and funded by the charity Womb Transplant UK, following approval from the Human Tissue Authority. The surgical team was co-led by surgeons at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust.

Both the donor operation and subsequent transplant took place at the Oxford Transplant Centre at OUH’s Churchill Hospital and took almost 18 hours. Both the recipient and donor wish to remain anonymous.

Approximately 100 transplants have now been performed globally, with the first successful live birth following a womb transplant reported in 2014 in Sweden.

Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“The success of this womb transplant is a UK first, and is the result of years of research. This exciting project adds to the recent developments and successes within our specialty around the world.

“It is estimated that around one in 500 women cannot become pregnant or carry a pregnancy because they do not have a womb, or a womb that is unable to maintain a pregnancy. The success of the first UK womb transplant, and the growing number of successful transplants around the world has the potential to offer more women who previously thought that they would not be able to carry a pregnancy the potential to conceive and give birth in the future.”

Notes to editors

  • Clinical and research
  • Fertility
  • Gynaecology