The First Woman In The US To Have A Uterus Transplant Just Gave Birth & It's A Modern Medicine Miracle

By
Share
Ad failed to load

There's very good news for women struggling with infertility and uterine cancers, as the first woman in the United States to have a uterus transplant just gave birth in Dallas, Texas this week, bringing the procedure one step closer to becoming standard. The woman was part of a clinical trial at Baylor University Medical Center for women with absolute uterine factor infertility (AUI), which basically means that their uterus doesn't function or just isn't there at all.

Most of the women in this particular trial have a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, which affects about one in every 4,500 women. MRKH means that a woman's uterus doesn't develop properly and is usually diagnosed at age 16 when they don't get their period, and they spend most of their lives assuming that they'll never be able to get pregnant or have a baby, which makes these successful transplants and births such huge development. Researchers believe that the procedure could eventually work for women with other conditions, especially cancers.

Dr. Liza Johannesson, one of the doctors involved in the trial, was also part of the original team who oversaw the first birth after a uterus transplant in Sweden just last year. Since then, there have been eight other successful births post-transplant in Sweden and the ability replicate the great results in the United States means that the procedure has a better chance at becoming a real viable option for other women.

Ad failed to load

Johannesson told TIME of the Dallas birth this month, "I think everyone had tears in their eyes when the baby came out. I did for sure."

CNN on YouTube

Johannsesson had moved to Texas for the Baylor program, as so many of the other women in the clinical trial have done. All of the women in the trial are between the ages of 20 to 35 years old and the donors have to be between the age of 30 to 60 years old. After the transplant, the women go through IVF treatments to get pregnant, according to The Guardian.

Ad failed to load

So far, Baylor's performed eight out of 10 scheduled transplants, and two have failed so far. There's also another woman who's pregnant after her transplant, according to TIME. A similar trial is being done at the Cleveland Clinic using only deceased donors, which is less risky than using a living donor.

Uterus transplants are not easy. The woman who gave birth, via a scheduled C-section, had a uterus from a living donor, though the trial also accepts donations from deceased women. Taylor Siler, 36 years old, is a registered nurse and mother of two kids who heard of the trial and wanted to give another woman the experience of getting pregnant.

CBS New York on YouTube
Ad failed to load

"I have family members who struggled to have babies, and it’s not fair. I just think that if we can give more people that option, that’s an awesome thing," she told TIME. She added that she's been getting teary every time she thinks about the woman giving birth this week, though they haven't met. This experience has been as much about her as it was for the woman in the trial.

She had to go through weeks of physical and mental health screenings before even being accepted as a donor. After a five-hour procedure to remove the uterus, there are about 12 weeks of recovery, according to Baylor. (It takes another five hours to transplant the uterus in the other woman.)

Cleveland Clinic on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Dr. Giuliano Testa, the head of the trial at Baylor and surgical chief of abdominal transplant for Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute told TIME, "We do transplants all day long. This is not the same thing. I totally underestimated what this type of transplant does for these women. What I’ve learned emotionally, I do not have the words to describe.”

However, it's expensive. Even if uterus transplants become more common procedures, they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and like other fertility issues, likely aren't covered by most insurers since they're considered "elective," which is totally infuriating.  

TODAY on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Baylor paid for the first 10 transplants in the trial but even the medical team is now seeking donations to continue on and do more transplants before making it a standard procedure. Testa told TIME, "The reality is that it’s going to be very difficult for many women to afford this."

Still, there's hope for women struggling with infertility or even being told right this minute that they're one of 13,500 women, according to Baylor, who are born without a uterus in the United States. Between the mind-blowing science and generosity of living donors that made this happen, it's hard to not get excited about these procedures, despite the cost.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack