A Woman Just Gave Birth to the First US Baby Born After a Uterus Transplant


Baylor University Medical Center

For many women, the advancements being made in uterine transplants open up doors that they may not have even known were there. In the past, women who were born without uteri or women who suffer from uterine factor infertility were made to simply accept the fact that they would never carry children. Now, after an American woman successfully gave birth to a child through a transplanted uterus, there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

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Last week, doctors at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, announced the first successful US birth by a woman who'd undergone a uterus transplant. While one of these deliveries occurred in Sweden in 2014, this is a first for women in the United States.

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The transplant is a precarious procedure involving five important steps. First, the patient's eggs are harvested via in vitro fertilization; that procedure is then followed by the actual transplant surgery and subsequent recovery. After recovery, the patient is implanted with her own embryos, which hopefully leads to pregnancy and delivery. The mother who received the uterus transplant had been born without a uterus, reports the Washington Post. After deciding to participate in an ongoing uterine transplant clinical trial with Baylor University, she received a uterus that was donated by a 36-year-old registered nurse and mom named Taylor Siler. 

After getting pregnant and successfully carrying her child to term, the unnamed mother was scheduled to have a C-section. Time reports that almost all members of the clinical trial team were in the delivery room with the woman during the birth. Dr. Robert T. Gunby Jr., the ob-gyn who delivered the baby, said the birth went incredibly smoothly, with the C-section going as planned and the child coming out screaming but healthy. "I've delivered a lot of babies, but this one was special," he told Time. "When I started my career we didn't even have sonograms. Now we are putting in uteruses from someone else and getting a baby."

While the mother has chosen for her and her child to remain anonymous at this time, it hasn't stopped people around the world from marveling at their amazing feat. Currently, in Baylor's clinical trials, eight women have received uterus transplants. While four of the transplants have failed and had to be surgically removed, the Washington Post reports that at least two women are currently trying to conceive a child, and one other is currently pregnant. 

Doctors involved in the trials are still working furiously toward new advancements and to improve the process for uterine transplants. While the success of this transplant and the subsequent birth mark great things to come, they say there is still a long way to go. "We were very proud of the first birth in Sweden," Dr. Liza Johannesson, an ob-gyn at Baylor and a member of the Swedish team that delivered the first post–uterus transplant baby, told Time. "But this birth is what's going to make the field grow, because this is the first time this has been replicated anywhere else. This step is equally, if not even more, important."

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While they continue work in their clinical trials, doctors will keep a continued eye on the baby as part of their study. Baylor also shared that its goal in the future is to present uterine transplants not as superior to surrogacy or adoption, but rather as another option for women diagnosed with infertility. "For the girl who is getting the [infertility] diagnosis now, it's not hopeless," Kristin Posey Wallis, a uterine transplant nurse at Baylor, told Time. "There's hope."

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