First baby in China born from womb donated by grandmother

XI'AN (China) • A Chinese woman who successfully received a womb donated by her mother after a uterus transplant in November 2015 gave birth to a healthy baby boy in north-west China's Shaanxi province on Sunday.

Weighing 2kg and measuring 48cm long, the baby is considered to be China's first and the world's 14th baby to be born from a transplanted womb, said doctors with the Xijing Hospital in Xi'an, where the baby was born and the uterus transplant was performed.

Named by Chinese media as Yang Hua, the new mother, 26, was born without a uterus but has her own ovaries which produce eggs.

When the mother-daughter womb transplant, also China's first human womb transplant, was done in 2015, Ms Yang was 22 years old and her mother, 43.

Uterus transplants are not new. In the 1960s, Britain and the United States began to experiment with uterus transplants on animals.

In 2000, the world's first human womb transplant took place on a 26-year-old woman in Saudi Arabia. The transplanted uterus failed after three months and had to be removed.

Dr Chen Biliang, director of the obstetrics and gynaecology department of Xijing Hospital, said uterus transplants remain a medical challenge in the world today.


The uterus, with plenty of tenuous blood vessels, grows in the depths of a woman's pelvic cavity.

Therefore, a string of problems, including cutting, the structure of the blood vessels during the transplant, and strong reactions from any rejection may occur, said Dr Chen.

There are about one million women in China who are suffering from uterine infertility.

Due to the limitation of the current assisted reproductive technology and the prohibition of surrogacy in many countries, uterus transplants have provided an effective way for women plagued by uterine infertility to have their own babies, said Dr Chen.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'First baby in China born from womb donated by grandmother'. Print Edition | Subscribe