23 May, 2023 @ 10:30
1 min read

Medical first in Spain, as baby is born to mother who received transplanted uterus

Hospital Clinic Barcelona from Cordon Press
View of the main entrance of Hospital Clinic Barcelona

IN A MEDICAL first in Spain, a baby has been born to a woman who received a uterus transplant. The child, Jesus, was delivered by mother Tamara Franco in Barcelona, after the organ was donated to her by her sister in 2020 via a complicated operation that lasted more than 20 hours. 

“It was a very tough but at the same time very beautiful process, and despite all of the risks it was worth it,” Franco explained on Monday during a press conference, along with the medical team involved and the Catalan regional health chief, Manel Balcells. 

Franco, who is from Murcia, suffered from a condition called Rokitansky syndrome, which is when a woman is born with ovaries, but lacks a uterus and fallopian tubes. It is a condition that approximately one in every 5,000 women suffer according to Spain’s state broadcaster RTVE.

The Clinic Hospital in Barcelona chose Franco as their first case for the pioneering surgery. After the procedure was completed, the challenge was for her to become pregnant. 

After several attempts to implant embryos and one miscarriage, she finally fell pregnant last September. But the pregnancy was not without its complications, and Franco suffered preeclampsia – high blood pressure that could have been caused by the medication she has to take to stop her body from rejecting the organ.

At the seven-month point of the pregnancy, the baby was delivered on March 10 via a caesarian, with no complications. 

The child, Jesus, was kept in a neonatal intensive care unit and was discharged once he weighed 3.2 kilograms and his lungs were sufficiently strong. 

Franco is not planning to have any more children, meaning that she will now undergo a surgery to remove the uterus. This will avoid her having to continue to take the medication to prevent her body from rejecting the organ. 

According to the doctors who oversaw the procedure, it was first carried out in Sweden. So far around 100 uterus transplants have been carried out, yielding more than 50 births throughout the world.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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