The kidneys of a five-week-old baby have been transplanted into a woman from Halifax who was dying of renal failure, making the infant the youngest organ donor in Britain.
The baby girl had died from a heart failure after contracting an infection but her parents agreed for her organs to be donated.
Doctors were able to transplant the tiny kidneys to save the life of 22-year-old healthcare assistant Samira Kauser, according to reports in a national newspaper.
Ms Kauser said: “Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to the parents of this baby. My life was standing still, now I can live it.
“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 is a massive gift.”
Because of a shortage in donors, surgeons are now using babies younger than two months old despite the possible trauma of asking parents if they will consider donation.
The seven-hour operation took place at St James’ University Hospital in Leeds and was carried out by transplant surgeon Niaz Ahmad.
Mr Ahmad told a national newspaper that previously there had been a “cultural thing” among surgeons about not using donors so young, but now they were prepared to do it because of organ donor shortages.
He said: “This case represents the youngest organ donor in the country. For a number of years there has been a mental block about using such tiny kidneys, a feeling that they would be too small and not work.”
He said he hoped this case would show that such transplants can be successful.