Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic just completed the first U.S. uterus transplant on February 24—a big deal for women who were either born without a uterus or have had theirs removed. Why? They can finally have babies.
Lindsey, the 26-year-old who received the 9-hour surgery, had been told at age 16 that she could never get pregnant, according to The Guardian.
"From that moment on, I have prayed that God would allow me the opportunity to experience pregnancy," she told The Guardian. "Here we are today at the beginning of that journey."
Lindsey is the first of 10 women who will receive a uterus transplant, attempt to become pregnant through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and give birth via C-section as part of a clinical trial with the Cleveland Clinic.
She'll need to stay at the clinic for one to two months post-surgery and then return home to a relatively normal life. One year after the transplant, Lindsey can attempt to get pregnant. It's possible that the uterus will be rejected during the pregnancy, according to the Cleveland Clinic, but success stories from Sweden give hope that Lindsey can become a mom. There, the procedure has already been done successfully—nine women have had transplants and four have resulted in healthy babies, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If Lindsey's transplant and pregnancy is successful, it could mean that women previously told they were permanently infertile will have the chance to carry their own babies, rather than resorting to a surrogate or adoption. Science can be pretty amazing. But making it possible for women to bring new life into the world? That's the ultimate win.
UPDATE 3/9: On Tuesday—just one day after the news conference discussing Lindsey's possibility of pregnancy—she developed a serious complication and had to have the uterus surgically removed, according to Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Clinic, as reported by the New York Times. According to Sheil, Lindsey is recovering well from the second operation and pathologists are analyzing the organ to determine what went wrong with the transplant. The nature of the complication has not been specified, but Lindsey, who was born without a uterus, was just the first of 10 women to undergo this experimental procedure at the Cleveland Clinic.