When Robert T. Gunby, Jr. was beginning his career as an obstetrician and gynecologist, doctors didn’t even have sonograms to assist their work.
“Now we are putting in uteruses from someone else and getting a baby,” Dr. Gunby exclaimed this week in a report on the first birth in the United States to a woman who received a transplanted uterus.
Time magazine said the birth took place by Caesarean section at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas to a mother who was born without a uterus. It was the first birth in the hospital’s ongoing uterus transplant clinical trial, the goal of which is to make birth after uterus transplants “a new field of infertility treatment research,” the magazine said.
The woman and her husband asked that their names not be made public. She received her new uterus from a 36-year-old nurse who had two children and decided that she didn’t want any more.
As Aleteia reported in 2015, the procedure is complicated and involves in vitro fertilization:
After a thorough screening process, the prospective organ recipient will be given hormones to stimulate her ovaries to produce 10 eggs (because the fallopian tubes will not be connected to the transplanted uterus, a natural pregnancy will be impossible). Doctors will fertilize the harvested eggs with her partner’s sperm and freeze them. Once there are 10 embryos in the freezer, the woman will be put on the waiting list for a transplant.
Researchers won’t allow more than two pregnancies for the transplanted womb, for safety reasons, so there is a potential for eight eggs in each case to be left indefinitely in frozen storage.