Lindsey, the 26-year-old woman who underwent the first uterus transplant in the United States, said today that she will undergo IVF once she has fully recovered. Assuming that the transplant holds, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic who oversaw her transplant, predict that she will be able to become pregnant and give birth via C-section. “She’ll be here for a month or two after surgery,” Rebecca Flyckt, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told The Guardian. “After that, we expect that she will be able to return home. She should be able to have a fairly normal life.”
Lindsey, who gave only her first name to preserve her privacy, was told at the age of 16 that she would never have children. She underwent the transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in February with the hopes of having biological children (she and her husband have three adopted sons). “From that moment on, I have prayed that God would allow me the opportunity to experience pregnancy,” she said in an interview. “Here we are today at the beginning of that journey.”
Lindsey is part of a trial program launched by the Cleveland Clinic; nine other women are scheduled to undergo uterine transplants in the near future. The Guardian reports that if the trial is successful, “the treatment could provide an alternative for women who are unable to have children because they are born without a uterus or lose their uterus to disease.”
Prior to undergoing the transplant, each of the 10 women in the trial banked between six and 10 embryos. Cleveland Clinic plans on transferring the embryos until healthy implementation. Doctors hope that the uterus transplants, which are temporary, will carry one to two healthy pregnancies. After these pregnancies are brought to term, the women will undergo hysterectomies.
Though uterus transplants are new to the United States, there is precedent for successful outcomes. The surgery, which originated from research at the University of Gothenburg, has been performed on nine women in Sweden. Four of those women later gave birth to healthy children. In September 2014, doctor Mats Brannstrom who led the research at Gothenburg, oversaw the birth of the first child born after a womb transplant. At the time, Brannstrom said that the research, “opens up the possibility of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine infertility.”
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