- Unnamed five-week-old child died from heart failure earlier this year
- Kidneys from baby transplanted into 22-year-old Samira Kauser by surgeons at St James's University Hospital in Leeds
- Healthcare assistant from Halifax, West Yorkshire, had kidney failure due to genetic condition
- Procedure declared a success after six months of monitoring
A five-week-old baby has become the youngest organ donor in Britain after the infant's kidneys were transplanted into a dying woman.
The kidneys from the baby, who died from heart failure, saved the life of Samira Kauser, 22, from Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Niaz Ahmad, a transplant surgeon, and his team at St James's University Hospital in Leeds carried out the seven-hour operation to transplant the kidneys into Ms Kauser.
Saved: Samira Kauser, 22, received a kidney from the youngest donor in the UK, a 5-week-old baby
She had suffered a genetic condition that meant cysts damaged her organs beyond repair.
Ms Kauser, a healthcare assistant, was rushed to hospital earlier in the year after the baby's parents said they were willing to donate the kidneys - which measured just 4cm.
Surgeons have said the organs are functioning well and have grown to 7cm, with the potential to reach 75 per cent of adult size, and the operation has been declared a success.
Surgeon Ahmad told The Sunday Times: 'This case represents the youngest organ donor in the country.
'There was also a cultural thing among surgeons that we had never used this age group, because of the emotional difficulty of asking parents of a young baby if they were willing.
'But there is such an acute shortage of organs, that we are now prepared to do this, and this case, I hope, shows that it can work.'
Ms Kauser, who now plans to marry next year, said: 'Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to the parents of this baby.'
'My life was standing still; now I can live it. It is a massive gift.'
Pain-staking: The seven-hour transplant was carried out by surgeons at the St James's University Hospital in Leeds, pictured, and has now been declared a success after six months of monitoring
'BEATING HEART BABIES'
The UK Donation Ethics Committee is considering the use of organs from 'beating heart' babies.
These are children being kept alive on ventilators but are certified as brain dead.
A working group set up by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine is working with the committee to discuss the controversial method.
The practice, already used in adults and older children, allows medics to use a greater number of organs - particularly the heart and small intestines - as they can be maintained while the patient is kept alive on a ventilator.
With a decision on the method is expected within six months.
Surgeons are forced to use young babies to counter a chronic organ donor shortage in the UK - despite the emotional distress of asking parents if they will consider donation.
Kidneys of unborn children in the womb are functioning at around 37 weeks and they could be transplanted at that stage.
The liver, heart and lungs are also fully developed at that stage but they do continue to grow once implanted.
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: 'My heart goes out to all the families that find themselves in the position where they have to make a decision about organ donation.
'But organ donation saves lives and donor families talk with pride of ultimately rewarding decision to donate their loved one's organs.'
The UK Donation Ethics Committee is currently considering the use of organs from 'beating heart' babies, who are being kept alive on ventilators but are certified as brain dead.