A mum in Australia is to give her daughter her own womb, to enable the 34-year-old nurse to have a longed-for baby.
Melinda Arnold was born without a womb but with ovaries. She tried three times to have a surrogate baby, using her mum and then a friend, but all three pregnancies failed. She has also tried without success to adopt a child with her husband Andy.
Melinda’s mum Denise eventually offered her own womb to help Melinda conceive, and the family are set to be one of the first in the world to have the breakthrough surgery.
It’s a dangerous and difficult operation. Back in 2000, doctors in Saudi Arabia tried a womb transplant but sadly the woman’s body rejected the transplanted uterus, and it had to be removed four months into her pregnancy. However, scientific procedures led by a Swedish transplant team, have advanced to a point where doctors now think such a transplant could be successful and are willing to try again.
Melinda will have to be on immuno-supressant drugs to stop her body rejecting the womb for the whole time she has her mum’s womb in her body. After the transplant she’ll have to wait a year before doctors could attempt pregnancy, by implanting embryos through IVF. She would then continue taking the immuno-supressant drugs throughout the pregnancy, and after birth the womb would then be removed.
“Mum and I talked about a transplant years ago, before we even knew if it would be possible,” explained Melinda.
Her mum Denise revealed how important having a baby is to Melinda. “People looking at her would never know the heartache that she carries about, but I see the chink. It has been a long journey and both she and Andy have suffered a lot of sadness and disappointment. If anyone can do this, my daughter can.”