A woman who was born without a uterus made history by being the first to give birth to a baby via a transplanted womb. The milestone birth took place at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, according to an exclusive by TIME.
Dr. Liza Johannesson, an ob-gyne and surgeon specializing in uterus transplants at Baylor, said,
We’ve been preparing for this moment for very long time. I think everyone had tears in their eyes when the baby came out. I did for sure.
The woman and her husband asked to remain unidentified in order to maintain their privacy.
Baylor has an ongoing uterus transplant clinical trial; this is the first birth for it. Women who entered the trial have what is called absolute uterine factor infertility or AUI, meaning their uteruses are not functioning or don’t exist. Many of the women have Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, so they have lived their whole lives thinking that they could never get pregnant.
This procedure could also work for women who have other medical issues, like some kinds of cancer.
Dr. Giuliano Testa, head of the uterus transplant clinic at Baylor, said, “We do transplants all day long. This is not the same thing. I totally underestimated what this type of transplant does for these women. What I’ve learned emotionally, I do not have the words to describe.”
The baby was born via Caesarean section, and most of the clinical trial team were present at the birth. The baby arrived healthy, kicking and screaming.
Dr. Robert Gunby, Jr., the ob-gyne who delivered the baby, said, “I’ve delivered a lot of babies, but this one was special. When I started my career, we didn’t even have sonograms. Now we are putting in uteruses from someone else and getting a baby.”
When Gunby first held the baby up, members of the medical team were emotional. Dr. Gregory McKenna said, “I just started to cry.”