London/New Delhi: A lesbian couple in the UK has become the first parents in the world to deliver a baby that was carried in the wombs of both, a media report said.
Jasmine Francis-Smith (28) gave birth to Otis by using an egg that was incubated by her ‘wife’ Donna (30) in a pioneering procedure known as ‘shared motherhood’. The baby was born on September 30.
Earlier, the procedure could be performed only through artificial incubation, the Mail Online reported.
The couple hail from Colchester in Essex.
In the new procedure, an egg obtained from one woman is fertilised in a lab, then incubated for a day or so in one of the wombs, then transferred to the other womb for the remaining period of pregnancy till birth. In this case, Donna incubated the embryo for the first 18 hours following fertilisation, before it was transferred to Jasmine.
The couple used donor sperm, though it was not known if they knew the donor. One benefit of the new technique is that fertilisation takes place in a living environment rather than in a lab, which carries risks of its own.
A spokesman for the London Women’s Clinic, where the procedure was conducted, said this not only allows both partners a “practical and emotional stake in the pregnancy but also provides the embryo with important nutrients and other components in a natural, maternal environment”.