Following groundbreaking surgery last year, the South African man who received the world’s first successful penis transplant has gotten his girlfriend pregnant and will soon be a father.
The patient, whose identity is being protected, received a new penis after his own had to be amputated to save his life, as he developed severe complications from a botched circumcision. These complications can cause a wide range of health problems, including infections that can cause death. While the number of losses due to circumcisions is unknown, experts estimate that as many as 250 amputations could be happening every year across South Africa.
"There is a greater need in South Africa for this type of procedure than elsewhere in the world, as many young men lose their penises every year due to complications from traditional circumcision," explained Andre van der Merwe, who led the surgical team, earlier this year.
Just months after receiving the penis transplant, the patient had regained all urinary and sexual functioning. In a public lecture, Merwe said the pregnancy confirmed the success of the surgery, News24 reported.
"To us it means we are ticking most of the boxes where this guy can stand and urinate normally, can have sexual intercourse and his penis function has recovered completely," Merwe told Reuters.
"I know that he can ejaculate normally and there is no reason for him to be infertile. I was expecting a pregnancy at some stage, even though I didn’t expect it this early," he added.
The penile surgery undertaken at Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town was a pilot, and surgeons hope the procedure will be performed in the future to help patients who have lost their penis due to cancer or as a last resort solution to severe erectile dysfunction. There are nine other people in the study set to undergo penile surgery.