A man who received the world’s first successful penis transplant at the end of last year is now expecting a baby, according to news reports.
The surgeons announced a few months ago that the 21-year-old had “made a full recovery and…regained all function”, and now we have some pretty strong evidence to back that up.
The South African man who received the transplant had been forced to have his penis amputated three years ago, after a ritual circumcision went wrong.
"Our goal was that he would be fully functional at two years and we are very surprised by his rapid recovery,” André van der Merwe, who led the surgery at Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital, told the media.
The nine-hour operation used the penis from a deceased patient - but in order to get the donor’s family to agree, the doctors also had to fashion a new penis out of abdominal tissue for the cadaver to be buried with.
The surgeons then had to attach the donor penis onto the recipient, and reconnect the vessels that allow proper urinary and sexual function.
In South Africa, it’s estimated that around 250 young men lose their penises each year as a result of botched coming-of-age rituals, which can involve circumcision. Often these leave men with inadequate blood flow to their penis, which can lead to gangrene and tissue decay.
Since the first successful transplant, nine other operations are lined up.