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Reproductive Health

Mother to Donate Uterus to Daughter for Transplant

An Australian woman will use her own mother's womb to have a baby.

In an Australian first, Melinda Arnold, 34, will undergo a womb transplant after her mother, Denise Allen, agreed to donate the organ to her.

Arnold, who was born without a womb but with ovaries that produce eggs, twice tried unsuccessfully to use her mother as a surrogate and adoption attempts also failed.

Her and husband Andrew's last hope of becoming parents rest with Swedish doctors, who with the help of Australian colleagues, will perform one of the first ever womb transplants next year.

A decade ago, Arnold's mother was given permission to act as a surrogate for her by the courts.

"I was devastated when the surrogacy didn't work," Allen said. "There was a bit of a feeling that I had failed her, but Melinda never saw it that way."

A third attempt, using a friend as the surrogate, also failed to achieve the desired pregnancy. The couple  hoped to adopt, but after almost three years, they gave up that dream.

Arnold said she feared her dream of motherhood was slipping away.

"I know some people see this as risky," she said. "If I had a child I would never take that risk, but I don't."

The transplant team is being led by Mats Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Gothenburg University in Sweden.

He said most areas of infertility could now be treated, but not women irreversibly infertile due to a missing womb. Transplants are a solution, he believes.

"Since the final aim is to accomplish motherhood, success should be measured by full-term pregnancies that result in healthy offspring," he said.

Patients would need to wait 12 months after the transplant before attempting a pregnancy through IVF.

Frozen embryos would be created before the transplant to show a couple could conceive and the recipient would need to take immuno-suppressant drugs to stop rejection.

Click here to read more on this story from the Daily Telegraph.