Doctors at a hospital in London successfully transplanted the organs of an infant donor to two newborns that were in need late last year.  The transplant marks the first time such a procedure has been done in the United Kingdom, although they have been performed in the United States, Germany, and Australia.

The donor was a baby girl whose brain had been starved of oxygen during pregnancy.  Her parents agreed to donate the organs of their daughter after they were told by doctors that should was not going to make it.  The kidneys and liver cells of the infant went on to save the lives of two other infants in need of a transplant.

"When we explained to the parents of the baby girl it could be possible to save some lives with their help they were only too keen," neonatologist at Imperial College Healthcare, Dr. Gaurav Atreja says. "They came back wanting to speak to me again within a couple of hours."

"They didn't need any persuading -- not that that is something we would ever try to do. It's a decision that has to come from the parents without any pressure."

Current guidelines make it difficult for physicians to identify possible donors and talk to the parents about the delicate subject of organ donation in neonatal intensive care units. However, doctors hope that with the success of this latest procedure and new guidelines they will be able to change that opening up the possibility of more organ donations from infants around the nation.  The organs of children are not only suitable for other children in need of transplant, but they can also be successfully transplanted into adults.

"The case has set a milestone in the care of newborns in the U.K." wrote the scientists in the study, which has been featured this week in the journal Fetal & Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease In Childhood.

"We hope that neonatal units across the U.K. will actively start thinking about this noble cause, which makes the grieving family's journey easier and has the potential to transform another life."

The success of this procedure will more than likely provide the foundation for more research and new guidelines, which will allow for more organ donations from infants and other children in the future.

Infant donations remain rare even in countries like the United States that allow infant donations much more readily.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are no age limitations on who can donate organs in the United States.  However, between 2008 and 2013, only 21 organ donors in the U.S. were a week old or less.