Penis Transplant Recipient to Become Father
Surgeons in South Africa report that the first man to successfully receive a penile transplant is going to be a father. After a botched circumcision when he was a teenager caused complications and the loss of his penis, the 21-year-old man, whose identity has been protected, underwent a penile transplant operation. Just six months later, doctors say his girlfriend is four months pregnant.
To complete the operation, surgeons at the Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital used a donor penis to perform a nine-hour long operation. The young man had only 1 centimeter of his original penis after complications of a circumcision he received when he was 18. Such circumcisions of male adolescents are part of an initiation ceremony in some parts of South Africa.
The surgeons used techniques common in facial transplants to connect the blood vessels and nerves between the donated and original penis. Penile transplants have been attempted before, including one in China, but no previous ones have been successful.
Despite the surgery, the man was not expected to be infertile, since the complication was only with the penis and not the testicles where sperm is reproduced and stored.
The doctors said they are hopeful that they will be able to perform more of these operations. They noted that the need for this procedure is particularly high in South Africa due to the circumcision initiations ceremonies.