Herald Sun 15/10/11

Aussie woman Melinda Arnold to get womb transplant from selfless mother

15 Oct 2011
Melinda Arnold will be given her mother’s womb in a revolutionary operation. Picture via Herald Sun
Dr Hanafy said Mrs Arnold was born without a uterus and had tried for several years to become pregnant through IVF and surrogacy.
In 2003 her mother was given permission to act as a surrogate and carry her daughter’s baby in what was a Victorian first.
Dr Hanafy said Mrs Arnold believed this was her last chance of having a baby.
The doctors believe there could be hundreds of Australian women with Mrs Arnold’s condition.
“People don’t know about this condition because they don’t find out until they’re 15 or 16,” Dr Brannstrom said yesterday.
He visited Dr Hanafy after presenting his research in Cairns.
He said the once controversial topic was now being met with enthusiasm by world doctors.
“Eight or nine years ago it was going to be ethically debatable, now some people are thinking this is less ethically debatable than surrogacy,” he said.
Surrogacy is not allowed in Sweden or many other European countries. “There is a demand for this kind of procedure,” Dr Brannstrom said.
The doctors are in the process of preparing next year’s patients for surgery, harvesting their eggs and matching donors appropriately.
“They really have to understand this is an experimental procedure,” Dr Brannstrom said.
“We can’t guarantee we will have a live birth. It’s a long process.
“After some time we’ll attempt pregnancy. That’s the goal, to get a baby.”
Dr Hanafy said they were hitting an exciting time and the prospect of the surgery one day coming to the Gold Coast’s John Flynn Private Hospital, where he works, was great.
“I want it to be where I work,” he said.
“I said (to my boss) what do you think about the first uterus transplant here in Australia taking place at John Flynn and his jaw just dropped. It’s not a highly technical thing, it’s all really in the service.”
The surgery would take several hours and both donor and recipient would be able to leave hospital in just a few days.

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