For about 5 percent of women in the world, giving birth is nothing more than an impossible dream because of a missing or improperly working uterus – or it used to be. Medicine has found a way to solve the problem. It’s done through a revolutionary treatment known as a uterine transplant.
The very first of these transplants occurred at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2014, the same hospital welcomed the very first baby to ever be born after a uterus transplant. They then repeated their procedure and success eight more times. Now they’re sharing their science with the rest of the world. The Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas was the first to achieve a successful transplant birth.
Few details have been released about the mother and her baby – mostly due to the mother’s wish for privacy – but the hospital did make an announcement regarding the birth. The team worked closely with the Swedish team to achieve success, and they managed to beat out a hospital in Cleveland that also attempted a clinical trial on the procedure, which is not surprising since the process is quite complex.
To even be considered for a transplant, the mother needs working ovaries, and she must be in good general health. If she is a good candidate, then intense rounds of IVF are done to cull the mother’s eggs. They are then fertilized in a lab where they are stored until at least a year after the transplant has occurred (the physicians need to monitor for complications or signs of rejection).
Once the mother has been cleared for childbirth, her embryos are implanted. If one takes and the pregnancy is successful, the mother then delivers via cesarean near her due date (or sooner if complications arise). Women can usually achieve one or two successful pregnancies with the uterus, but then it must be removed to eliminate the need for anti-rejection medication.
The hope is that more successful births will occur – and not just in the United States, but also throughout the rest of the world.