Baby Otis will have an interesting story to tell about his birth, when he grows up. Otis became the world's first baby to be born using a process known as 'shared motherhood' under which two wombs are involved. Born to a British lesbian couple Jasmine Francis-Smith and Donna, Otis shared the womb of both his mothers.
Earlier, the eggs were artificially fertilised in the artificial environment of the IVF laboratory, before being transferred to the womb. Under the new procedure, Donna incubated the embryo in her womb for the first 18 hours following fertilisation before it was transferred to Jasmine. Nine months later, on 30 September, a healthy Otis was born from the womb of Jasmine.
Online fertility competition changed things for the couple
The couple had taken part in an online competition being run by fertility advice website IVF Bab-ble to mark the 40th anniversary of the treatment. Under the competition, funded by the Fertility Partnership clinics in the UK, eight free rounds of IVF were to be given to the participants. Jasmine and Donna underwent the treatment at London Women's Clinic, who had started the concept of "shared motherhood" in 2011.
The new-age procedure
What made the procedure unique was the fact that instead of incubating the egg in artificial set-up, the process was carried out in Donna's womb. The eggs, placed inside a miniature incubation capsule, known as AneVivo, were inserted into Donna's womb. Once the embryo grew into a 'blastocyst', it was transferred to Jasmine's womb for the rest of the term.
Speaking about the process, consultant gynaecologist Dr Giuseppina Lamanna said: "The AneVivo method neatly brings together the contributions of the biological and birthing mothers in creating their baby, a source of tremendous satisfaction to many of the lesbian and heterosexual couples we see."
A spokesman for the London Women's clinic, which carried out the procedure, said: "This procedure 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."
Ecstatic new mothers say it will help people in future
Jasmine, a dental nurse, married Lance Cpl Donna Francis-Smith, last year. The pair fell in love online in 2014. Expressing her happiness over the birth of their son, Jasmine said: "The procedure really made me and Donna feel quite equal in the whole process and has emotionally brought us closer together. Now with baby Otis born safe and well, we feel a true family. If we had to go through the process again there is nothing we would change.'
Donna, who donated half of her eggs to an anonymous recipient, said they were overwhelmed by the response. "We're overwhelmed to be honest, it's blown up massively. You get a lot of same-sex couples where one person is doing the whole thing, and the one person is getting pregnant and giving birth, whereas with this we're both involved in a massive way," adding that it will help people in the future.