Uterus transplant recipient gives birth for the first time in the US
A woman who received a uterus transplant has given birth to a baby — a first in the US, Time reports. She is part of an ongoing uterine transplant clinical trial taking place at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and she, like the other women in the trial, has a nonfunctioning or nonexistent uterus. Her uterus was donated by another woman, Taylor Siler, who wanted to be able to give someone else the opportunity to have a child. The trial, which accepts both living donations, like Siler’s, and donations from deceased individuals, will complete 10 transplants. Eight have been completed already and while at least three have failed so far, a second trial participant is now pregnant following a successful transplant.
While this is a first for the US, it’s not the first ever. A group in Sweden achieved the very first post-transplant births, a total of eight, and the birth that just took place at Baylor is the first to replicate the Swedish team’s success.
The birth was a big moment for everyone involved in the trial. “We do transplants all day long,” Giuliano Testa, head of the clinical trial, told Time. “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.” Gregory McKenna, a transplant surgeon at the hospital said, “Outside my own children, this is the most excited I’ve ever been about any baby being born. I just started to cry.”
Once a uterus is transplanted, the recipient must wait to achieve menstruation, which if the transplant is successful, usually occurs around four weeks later. Then, to get pregnant, they must go through in vitro fertilization since their uterus isn’t attached to their ovaries.
The Baylor team says that many more uterine transplants will need to be done before this can become an approved treatment, but these initial successes are promising. “For the girl who is getting the [infertility] diagnosis now, it’s not hopeless,” Kristin Wallis, a uterine transplant nurse at Baylor told Time. “There’s hope.”