CLEVELAND (WJW) — An Ohio clinic announced Monday that it has successfully delivered a baby for the second time from a uterus that was transplanted from a deceased donor.
Baby Cole arrived in early March 2020 at the Cleveland Clinic, but the journey getting him there wasn’t easy.
Mom Michelle was born without a uterus and was 16 when she learned she had a rare condition.
“All my friends were starting to have periods and I was the only one in school that hadn’t started yet,” she said. “We decided to do an ultrasound to see if I had a uterus. I didn’t have one.”
She and her husband Rich, both identified by only their first names, considered adoption, but it was a Facebook post about a uterus transplant that she ended up exploring.
After an in-depth screening process, doctors determined she was a good candidate for the transplant.
“We are basically placing a new uterus into a woman and this will allow them to become pregnant and carry a child of their own,” said Dr. Cristiano Quintini, a transplant surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.
Michelle became part of an ongoing clinical trial aimed at enrolling 10 women between the ages of 21 and 39 years old. Since the trial began, the clinic’s team has completed eight uterus transplants; six were successful and two resulted in hysterectomies soon after transplantation.
The clinic says an estimated 1 in 500 women of childbearing age worldwide is affected by uterine factor infertility, an irreversible condition.
“I didn’t start to feel him kick until, like, 27 weeks,” Michelle said. “That was one thing I wanted to feel and see was him moving.”
After Cole’s delivery, he spent a week in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “Most of the time, he is very quiet, very … easy, smiles,” Rich said.
Michelle expressed her gratitude to the donor who in death was able to give their family a beautiful new life.
“To know somebody else’s uterus helped me achieve him and to hold him, it was like the best thing in the world,” she said.