A baby has been born to a woman who was pronounced clinically dead in October.

The 36-year-old woman was taken to Milan's San Raffaele hospital, where she died from a brain haemorrhage nine weeks ago. She was 23 weeks pregnant at the time.

The fetus would not have survived a caesarean at that time and no machine incubator would have been able to to carry the pregnancy to term.

With the permission of the deceased woman's parents, medics used a life support machine to keep the woman's blood flowing and her lungs working, while a tube to the intestines fed the growing fetus reports The Local.

On Thursday, after nine weeks of life support, and in the 32nd week of the pregnancy, doctors delivered a baby boy weighing 1.8kg who was in good health.

With the parent's permission, the woman's organs were removed for use in transplants.

"Behind this joy, we can't forget the pain the family is feeling over the loss of this young woman," a medic was quoted as saying in La Stampa.

The procedure used by the medics is extremely rare, but has worked in the past.

In 1993, Trisha Marshall of California was 17 weeks pregnant when she was killed in a botched robbery attempt, after threatening an amputee with a meat cleaver. For more than 100 days, medics kept the fetus alive using a life support system, before successfully delivering the child.

A similar case in Ireland is currently stirring huge controversy.

The parents of a pregnant woman who is on life support say that they want the support switched off.

However, doctors say that Ireland's laws, which state that abortions are illegal unless there is a substantial threat to a woman's life, mean they are legally obliged to secure the survival of the woman's 16-week-old fetus.

The High Court in Dublin is expected to make a ruling on the case next week.