There's new hope for couples struggling with infertility. The Cleveland Clinic announced Monday a team of surgeons performed the first uterus transplant in the United States.
The patient is doing well and is a 26-year-old woman named Lindsey, who has three adopted sons. She never gave up hope of one day experiencing pregnancy herself.
A team of eight surgeons performed the transplant on February 24th, using a uterus from a deceased donor. The operation lasted nine hours and was the result of ten years of work at the Cleveland Clinic.
Lindsey is the first of ten women chosen to be a part of the clinic's uterine transplant study.
Dr. Camille Hammond is CEO of the Cade Foundation, which provides resources and support to families dealing with infertility. She said the surgery is an exciting prospect for women who want to carry a child, but their uterus was damaged by disease or they were born without one.
"This is still very much considered experimental and I think that we are a ways from seeing it done in practice regularly," she said. "But because it exists and because it happened, I think over time, this is going to be an option for many families."
The surgery has resulted in five healthy babies from nine transplants so far in Sweden. One of the biggest concerns is whether the anti-rejection drugs transplant patients must take have any effect on a developing fetus.
The women must wait at least a year before attempting to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization. After they give birth to one or two babies, the uterus will be removed so that patients don't have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.