As a male member of the species, I feel lucky never to have to worry about the physical problems that accompany pregnancy, miraculous though they may be in the end. But I feel equally privileged to live in a world where women with barren wombs could be given a second chance to experience pregnancy and childbirth. Of course, the cynic in me doesn’t understand why anyone would want to add to this planet’s significantly expanding population, but my appreciation for medical marveling beats out my cynicism.
In August 2011, the then-21-year-old Derya Sert received the first completely successful womb transplant from a dead donor at Akdeniz University Hospital in Antalya, a southern province in Turkey. Sert, who was born without a uterus, has recently seen the ultimate fruition of her transplant come to being: she is a few weeks pregnant following a successful embryo transplant.
The womb transplant was already thought to be a success once post-surgery menstruation began, but this kind of seals the deal, as it were. The chances of pregnancy problems are slightly higher due to the use of immunosuppressive drugs, as well as having to deliver the baby by C-section, but I’m guessing the joys far outweigh the risks for Sert, who will also have her uterus removed in the months following the birth to avoid the risk of rejection.
The first womb transplant performed in the world was in 2000 on a Saudi Arabian woman, but it had to be removed after 99 days due to heavy clotting.
Transplants are becoming worlds more than they used to be, now that medicine is keeping up with scientists’ imaginations. I think this guy would give this advancement two thumbs up.