Just days after appearing glowingly happy with doctors at a press conference, a woman named Lindsey, the first U.S. recipient of a “womb transplant” was back in the hospital having the donated uterus removed. On Monday, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic had announced that the transplant, which occurred on February 24th, was an initial success. However, complications soon developed and Lindsey’s new uterus—along with her dream of bearing a child—had to be removed.
Photo: Marvin Fong/AP
Before the press conference on Monday, I’d never even heard of a uterus transplant or known it was possible! However, it has been done for over two years in Sweden, where 5 births have resulted from 9 uterus transplants, The Guardian reported.
The U.S. womb recipient, identified only as Lindsey to protect her privacy, is 26 years old and was told when she was 16 that she would not be able to bear children. She is however, the mother of “three beautiful boys” adopted through foster care. She had hoped with this new uterus, to conceive and bear a child through in-vitro fertilization using embryos frozen before the transplant. Though I imagine she is devastated, in a statement made through the hospital, she said her doctors “acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing OK and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”
If doctors continue to forge ahead with these transplants, this could enable women who’ve lost their womb due to illness, disease, or birth defect to be able to bear biological children—how crazy is that? If this were the case with you, would you want to experience pregnancy badly enough to undergo a uterus transplant, or would you be content with adopting or surrogacy?
I think no matter how a woman becomes a mom, it’s a miracle every time—but it may soon be a medical miracle of an entirely different order.