UK & World News

  • 13 October 2013, 9:11

Baby Kidney Donor Is Britain's Youngest

A five-week-old baby is a lifesaver after becoming Britain's youngest ever organ donor.

The infant's tiny kidneys were donated to 22-year-old Samira Kauser and transplanted during a seven-hour operation at St James's University Hospital in Leeds.

The organs were just 4cm long but will grow to up to three-quarters the size of a normal adult's.

Together with the liver, heart and lungs, a baby's kidneys are fully functioning after 37 weeks in the womb.

Ms Kauser, from Halifax, who was spending nine hours a night on dialysis after a genetic condition caused her kidneys to fail, told The Sunday Times she plans to get married next year.

"When I found out (the donor) was a child who had died, I felt so sad," she said.

"I thought about the parents and how much they wanted to donate and I knew I had to have the operation, even though I was scared."

She added: "Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to the parents of this baby.

"They have lost so much - much more than I can ever comprehend.

"Their only solace is that someone else has been able to carry on with their life. It's a massive gift."

The Sunday Times said the transplant had reignited the debate about whether organs from so-called "beating heart" babies, who are being kept alive on ventilators but are certified as brain dead, should be made available to patients on the donor waiting list.

It said a decision on the issue is expected within the next six months.

Transplant surgeon Niaz Ahmad, who led the team that carried out the transplant, told the newspaper: "There is such an acute shortage of organs that we're now prepared to do this.

"This case, I hope, shows that it can work."

Around 19.7 million people are on the NHS organ donor register.

More than 7,200 people are waiting for a transplant - 6,000 of whom need a new kidney.

Some 2,820 kidney transplants were carried out last year.

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