A woman born without a uterus has become the first person in the United States to undergo cutting-edge surgery to receive a uterus transplant. The recipient, only known as Lindsey, was one of ten women screened to qualify for the ground-breaking surgery by the Cleveland Clinic team. The surgery has previously been successful in Sweden, paving the way for other European countries to follow.
According to CBS Pittsburgh, the uterus from a deceased donor was transplanted successfully during the nine-hour surgery and she is said to be recovering well. The 26-year-old and her husband already have three adopted children but desperately wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth for herself. Dr.Rebecca Flyct from the Cleveland Clinic, explains how women without a uterus – whether due to cancer or other complications – “really crave that experience of feeling the baby grow”.
They really crave that experience of feeling the baby grow, feeling the baby kick and move and carrying the biological pregnancy themselves
Unlike other organ transplants, the uterus is only temporary and will be removed after one or two pregnancies. Speaking about her recovery, Dr. Tomasso Falcone explains that “her ovarian function will return” and “produce estrogen”.
She’s going to start recovering, her ovarian function will return, produce estrogen, the estrogen will stimulate the uterus to produce the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, and then she will have a period. The uterus is an amazing organ. It’s basically on auto pilot.
According to The New York Times, Lindsey will not be able to conceive naturally and will need to undergo in vitro fertilization. Eggs had already been removed and fertilized with the husband’s sperm prior to the transplant, and frozen. They will be ready to implant the embryos around a year after surgery once they are sure the organ hasn’t been rejected. If this case is successful, the procedure could start to become widespread throughout the U.S. and give many women a chance to experience pregnancy.
The donor is unknown but as the uterus is not usually given up for donation, the family of the deceased woman had to be asked for consent. During the news briefing, Lindsey spoke of her “immense gratitude” to the family.