The recipient of the nation's first uterus transplant says she prayed for years to be able to bear a child, and is grateful to the deceased donor and surgeons who've given her a chance.
Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic said Monday that the 26-year-old woman is recovering well after receiving the uterus late last month. The experimental surgery is part of a new frontier in transplantation that, if it works, might be an alternative for some of the thousands of women unable to have children because they were born without a uterus or lost it to disease.
The woman, identified only as Lindsey, told reporters she already is a mother to three "beautiful little boys" adopted through foster care.
But since being told at age 16 that she would never have children, she said "from that moment on I have prayed that God would allow me the opportunity to experience pregnancy."
She will have to wait a year, undergoing regular doctor checks, to ensure the new uterus is healthy enough to try, using in vitro fertilization.
"We must remember a uterine transplant is not just about a surgery and about moving a uterus from here to there. It's about having a healthy baby," said Cleveland Clinic surgeon Dr. Rebecca Flyckt.
The hospital has screened more than 250 women to identify 10 who qualify for the clinical trial, those who lack a uterus but have healthy ovaries that produce eggs. Using those eggs, doctors freeze six to 10 embryos before the woman undergoes the transplant.
Other countries have tried womb transplants. Sweden reported the first successful birth in 2014, with a total of five healthy babies from nine transplants so far. The Cleveland Clinic team trained with the Swedish surgeons.