Gothenburg - Malin Stenberg was only 15 when she was told she had been born without a womb and so would never carry a child of her own.
But now she has spoken of the magic of motherhood after becoming the world’s first woman to have a baby with a womb transplant.
Miss Stenberg, 38, said she wanted to tell her story to give hope to others in the same situation.
“If you wish for a family and you are unable to have one naturally, for whatever reason, it is so sad,” she said.
“Total happiness comes from having family and it doesn’t matter if it is through a womb transplant, or adoption or something else. It is magical.”
Three years ago, Miss Stenberg was given a womb by a family friend, as part of a pioneering transplant programme at Gothenburg University, in Sweden, and 20 months ago, she made history by giving birth to a son, Vincent.
Womb transplants has been attempted before but all had failed, until Vincent was born. As she watched the youngster play with a toy golf set in their home near Gothenburg, Miss Stenberg described her devastation at being told as a teenager that she suffered from MRKH Syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which meant she was born without a womb.
“I wasn’t ready to hear it, I couldn’t take it in,” she said. “I thought that this means that I’ll never be able to carry a child of my own – but that is what women are made for. It felt so unfair. I loved kids and babies and I wanted to know what I had done to deserve this. I felt so alone.”
Eventually, she resigned herself to a life without children and threw herself into her career as a broker in the aviation industry.
Everything changed after she met her fiancé Claes Nilsson when she was 30. She told him about her condition early in their relationship and he vowed to find a way for them to have a family.
The couple looked into adoption and surrogacy before joining the womb transplant project at Gothenburg University.
Most of the nine women who took part in the scheme were given wombs donated by their own mothers. But Miss Stenberg’s donor was 61-year-old family friend Ewa Rosen.
After the womb was successfully transplanted, Miss Stenberg had IVF treatment – and became pregnant on her first attempt. She and Claes, 40, then “walked on eggshells”, until their son was born two months premature.
The couple chose the name Vincent, which is derived from the Latin for “to conquer”, to mark the extraordinary lengths they undertook to have him.
Miss Stenberg said: “When I held him for the first time, it was just amazing. I felt immediately that he was my baby. It just felt so natural. We truly are a family now.”
Mrs Rosen, whose womb made everything possible, is his godmother and sees him regularly.
Since Vincent was born, four more babies – three boys and a girl – have followed and several other countries have launched their own programmes.
Surgeon Richard Smith, head of charity Womb Transplant UK, is gearing up to start a series of similar operations here.
An estimated 15 000 British women were born without a womb or have had it removed because of cancer or other illness.
Vincent will not be joined by a little brother or sister because his mother has had her new womb removed over fears a second pregnancy would be more dangerous.