The University of Gothenburg in Sweden has announced the birth
of the first baby to be born after a uterine transplantation in which the
donor, the recipient’s mother, was operated on with robot-assisted keyhole
surgery. The birth, with a planned caesarean section, took place on Monday and
the whole family is doing fine.

It’s the ninth baby to be born in Sweden following a uterus
transplant and the first one in what the researchers at the Gothenburg University
call “the Robot Project”. Six transplantations were performed in 2017–2018, and
the team is also posed to perform the first uterine transplant using an organ
from a deceased donor.

Mats Brännström, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at
Sahlgrenska Academy, heads the research work.

“This is an extremely important step towards developing the
surgery involved in uterine transplantation, and its safety. For the first
time, we’re showing that the less invasive robot-assisted surgical technique is

The donor is operated on through one-centimeter incisions in
the abdomen. The robotic arms holding the surgical instruments are guided by
two surgeons, one on each side of the patient. Each surgeon sits at a personal
workstation a few meters away, with a joystick-like tool and magnified 3D
screen image that allows immense precision for operating deep inside the lower

Towards the end of the procedure, another incision is made
so that the uterus can be removed. It is then immediately inserted in the
recipient by means of open surgery. The new technique makes a big difference
for the donors, who generally feel better afterwards and get back on their feet

Niclas Kvarnström is the transplant surgeon in charge within
the project, and the person who performs the intricate task of connecting
vessels in the uterus recipient.

“In the future, we’re also going to be able to transplant
the uterus in the recipient using robot-assisted keyhole technique.”

“It’s a fantastic feeling to deliver such a special,
longed-for child. To have been part of the whole process, from the first
meeting with the couple to the uterus transplant, and now to see everyone’s joy
when what we’ve hoped for becomes reality. It’s simply wonderful,” says
Pernilla Dahm-Kähler, a leading robot-assisted surgeon and gynecologist on the
team and research scientist at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

In the current case, the transplantation was carried out at
Sahlgrenska University Hospital in October 2017. Ten months later an embryo,
which had come into being through IVF before the transplantation, was inserted
in the transplanted uterus, and a few weeks later the doctors were able to
confirm pregnancy, with a distinct heartbeat. The pregnancy has been free from
complications, with the mother in good health throughout; now, it has thus
ended with a planned C-section at 36 weeks pregnant.

To date, a total of 15 babies worldwide have been born from
a transplanted uterus. Besides the nine born within the scope of this
Sahlgrenska Academy research, there are two in the United States and one in
each of Brazil, Serbia, India and China.