Modern medicine has advanced to a staggering point. There is new hope for women who were born without a uterus or who lost their uterus after a medical emergency.
In a first for the United States, a woman with a transplanted uterus gave birth at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, reported The New York Times. The baby remains healthy after the birth.
This is the first success for Baylor’s ongoing uterus transplant clinical trial. The trial works with patients with absolute uterine factor infertility. The women in this trial either have a uterus that doesn’t exist or doesn’t work at all.
The mother, in this case, was born without a uterus. She received her uterus transplant from a living donor last year. The transplant took place at Baylor University Medical Center.
The baby, a little boy, was born there last month, said the hospital on Friday. At the family’s request, their name, hometown, and the date of the birth are being withheld. The information is being withheld to protect family's privacy, according to Julie Smith, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
In the past three years, eight other babies have been born to women who had uterus transplants. All of these births took place in Sweden at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.
Uterus transplants are a new frontier of medicine that gives hope to women who cannot give birth because they lack a uterus for a variety of reasons. According to The Times, researchers estimate that in the United States, 50,000 women might be candidates.
The transplants are intended to be temporary. They're left in place just long enough for a woman to have one or two children. The organ is then removed so she can stop taking the immune-suppressing drugs needed to prevent organ rejection.
The birth is especially significant because it's the first time a transplant has led to a successful birth outside of the Swedish hospital. Dr. Liza Johannesson, a uterus transplant surgeon who left the Swedish team to join Baylor’s group, spoke to The Times about the birth.
“To make the field grow and expand and have the procedure come out to more women, it has to be reproduced,” she said. “It was a very exciting birth,” Dr. Johannesson said. “I’ve seen so many births and delivered so many babies, but this was a very special one.”
The baby's mother was one of eight women who have had transplants at Baylor. One recipient is pregnant and two others with successful transplants are trying to conceive. Four other transplants failed after the surgery; the organs had to be removed.
“We had a very rough start, and then hit the right path,” said Dr. Giuliano Testa, principal investigator of the research project and surgical chief of abdominal transplantation.
“Who paid for it in a certain way were the first three women. I feel very thankful for their contribution, more so than I can express.”
Dr. Johannesson and Dr. Testa told The Times that speaking to women who couldn't have children motivated them to continue their research.
Dr. Testa said, “I think many men will never understand this fully, to understand the desire of these women to be mothers. What moved all of us is to see the mother holding her baby, when she was told, ‘You will never have it.’”