A 9-day-old infant died but before she passed away she donated her kidneys, saving another child's life, in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, on July 26, Kunming-based City Times reported.
The report said the infant donor became the youngest donor in the province's history.
The infant's mother, surnamed Zuo, suffered from placental abruption and gave birth to the female baby on July 17.
The newborn had severe asphyxia and was in deep coma. Despite rescue efforts, she was diagnosed as brain dead on the seventh day of her birth.
Parents decide to donate the baby's organs
She was the second child of her family. Her parents were looking forward to her birth. Her grieving father asked whether the baby can leave something in this world.
"Though my child had a short life, I hope her organs can save other children's life," said the father. "If so, I and her mother will be grateful."
Entrusted by the infant's mother, the father signed documents to permit the donation.
"The family experienced such a blow but thought to help others. We are deeply moved," said Li Ke, a staff member of the Red Cross Society of China, who witnessed the signing ceremony.
The organ harvest operation is difficult
After an evaluation, the infant's kidneys were deemed qualified to be donated. The infant was sent to the operation room for kidney harvest at 10 am of July 26.
Medical staff removed the respirator from the infant after a moment of silence. Her heart stopped beating.
"The newborn's organs were very small. Her blood vessel and ureter were very thin," said Zhao Yongheng, the surgeon, adding that the thin blood vessels are easy to snap.
If the vessel breaks, the organ will be useless, Zhao said. Eventually, the operation harvested two kidneys.
An 8-month-old receives a kidney
Two kidneys were assigned to two patients in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, via China Organ Transplant Response System and were transferred right after they were harvested.
One kidney was too small to be transplanted to the potential receiver.
Another kidney was transplanted to an 8-month-old patient. "The kidney matched the patient well and started to play its role," said surgeon Zhao Yongheng,
China banned transplants of organs from executed prisoners in January 2015, so voluntary donations have been the only source of organs since then.
Data from China Organ Transplant Response System show that since China launched the system in 2010, about 10,000 people have donated vital organs upon their death as of the end of 2016.