Doctor enables women without uterus to have babies

Mats Brannstrom

Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom is resolved to give women without uteruses around the world the joy of having a child.

Brannstrom, 57, leads a 40-member medical team as a professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Last month, he attended a meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies in Yokohama.

He is known as the first doctor to successfully enable a woman to deliver a baby by transplanting a uterus into her body.

Brannstrom transplanted the uterus of a 61-year-old into a 35-year-old Swede who did not have the organ in 2013, and the recipient delivered a 1,775-gram baby boy by Caesarean section the following year.

Two more women have delivered babies through the same process since then, and another woman is now pregnant.

The plea of a patient with cervical cancer sparked Brannstrom to study uterus transplantation: In 1998, a 27-year-old asked him to transplant her mother's uterus into her, saying it was the only way for her to ever deliver a baby.

The request surprised Brannstrom, because he had never thought of a transplant. He took up the challenge and conducted operations on mice and monkeys for more than a decade. In 2012, he succeeded in conducting a live-donor uterus transplant.

An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 Japanese women do not have a uterus. Brannstrom's motto is that nothing is impossible and to just concentrate on the challenge.

Brannstrom has five children, ranging from a 25-year-old medical student to a 7-year-old daughter.

He said he was thrilled when his oldest son recently told him he wanted to pursue a career as an obstetrician-gynecologist. No job is more wonderful than witnessing the beginning of life, according to Brannstrom.

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