The science of making babies never ceases to amaze me. With my own journey to motherhood having brought me to IVF, I’ve often spoken about my struggle with reconciling my fertility treatments with my otherwise au-naturale lifestyle. There have been times – and, honestly, there still are some times – when I think that perhaps all the injections, procedures, and science behind my baby-making story is all just too much.
But. It’s my path to motherhood. Scientific as it might be.
And you know the thing about science: It’s always advancing.
The latest absolutely incredible breakthrough in fertility? Womb transplants.
A woman in Turkey, who was born without a uterus, is the first in the world to not only receive the transplant, but to become pregnant afterward. She’s had the uterus since 2011 (it came from a deceased donor, as all organ transplants do), and she’s actually pregnant from her own eggs. Although she had no uterus, her ovaries were perfectly intact, which enabled doctors to take her eggs before the transplant – as is done during traditional IVF cycles – and fertilize them with her husband’s sperm.
Doctors waited 18 months after the transplant to transfer the woman’s embryo into her uterus – much like what is done during traditional IVF cycles, less the 18-month wait. Since the transplant – and currently – the woman is taking anti-rejection drugs (as all organ recipients do). Her doctors warn of the high risk of miscarriage and complications, due to the transplant, as well as the chance of birth defects linked to the immune-suppressing drugs used in transplants. But none of that is certain, and only time will tell.
It feels very much like this woman is the Guinea pig of pregnancies with womb transplants, but I suppose someone would have to be. When I think about my own exhaustion with my fertility journey, I can’t even begin to imagine what this woman is enduring. I get anxious waiting from IVF cycle to IVF cycle; it’s unfathomable to me what the 18-month wait must have felt like for this woman. I freak out over my egg-retrieval procedures; I can’t even think about undergoing major surgery to have a uterus put in me.
But these are the lengths women go to to become mothers. Would I ever have a uterus transplant in order to have a baby? I doubt it. But I also never thought I’d have IVF to have a baby either.
Only we can decide how far is too far for us. And as long as science continues to make advances – which it will – the lengths women will go to will continue on as well.
Original Photo: iStockphoto
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