Unborn baby removed from womb for lifesaving surgery

“She’s extra special, she’s part of history and our daughter has shown just how much she deserves this life.”

An unborn baby was removed from her mum's womb for a life-changing operation - before being put safely back inside.

Bethan Simpson is one of the first mums-to-be to have the pioneering surgery after her unborn daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida during her 20-week scan.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s spinal cord doesn’t develop properly.

Surgeons cut into her womb to remove her baby girl, before operating on her back - to treat the defect spina bifida.

After the op, they placed the baby back inside Bethan's womb, before sewing her up.

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Bethan's baby was operated on outside of the womb. Source: The Sun.

The baby was fixed before birth

Up until now the operation has only ever been performed in Belgium.

But Bethan, who is due to give birth in April, is one of a handful of mums who have been treated by a team of Belgian and British surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

"We were told our little girl had spina bifida," Bethan said.

"We were offered continuing with the pregnancy, ending it or a new option called foetal surgery - fixing her before she is born.

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"We agreed to do it. Baby and I went through amniotic tests, MRIs and relentless scans."

Bethan and her baby were given the green light to have the surgery, then faced "a rollercoaster for the next few weeks".

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The condition was picked up at the 20-week scan. Source: The Sun.

Their first option was to terminate

At Bethan and husband, Kieron's 20-week scan, the couple were told their baby's head wasn't measuring right.

They were sent to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, where their unborn baby was diagnosed with spina bifida.

The condition affects a baby's spinal cord, meaning it doesn't fully develop in the womb.

It can affect a child’s ability to walk causing paralysis of the limbs and the ability to go to the toilet normally.

The couple were told their first option was to terminate the pregnancy.

But after hearing about the option for foetal surgery, Bethan had their baby went into hospital at 24 weeks.

She became the fourth mum in the UK to have the op, with surgeons from University College Hospital and GOSH playing a key role.

Separate your needs from those of your children. They can’t live your dreams.

She said: “I had the most recognised surgeons from around the world from University College London Hospital and Belgium looking after me.”

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Bethan with her surgery scar. Source: The Sun.

"It's not a death sentence"

The surgery involved removing the baby from Bethan’s womb and repairing the spinal cord so the baby has a greater chance of a normal life.

The baby was then placed back in Bethan’s womb for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Thankfully, Bethan said the operation was a success.

Bethan, from Burnham, Essex, said: “Sadly 80 per cent of babies in England are terminated when their parents get told their baby has this condition.

“It’s not a death sentence. She has the same potential as every one of us.

“Yes, there are risks of things going wrong but please think more about spina bifida, it’s not what it used to be.

“I feel our baby kick me day in and day out, that’s never changed.

“She’s extra special, she’s part of history and our daughter has shown just how much she deserves this life.”

This article was originally published by The Sun and has been republished here with permission.

Baby born after womb transplant from dead donor

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A mother has given birth to a healthy baby girl after surgeons implanted a womb in her body from a deceased donor. The case study - published in The Lancet - in Brazil demonstrates that uterus donations from deceased donors are a potential avenue of treatment for women with uterine infertility. Although uterus transplants are a growing area of medicine, they remain highly experimental and are very difficult surgeries to complete. Uterine transplants from living donors have occurred before. A total of 39 transplants have resulted in 11 live births - with the first taking place in Sweden in 2013. There have been 10 uterus transplants from deceased donors attempted in the US, the Czech Republic, and Turkey, but this is the first one which resulted in a live birth.

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