LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Every year, thousands of women struggle every year to get pregnant. For many, the dream of having a baby is shattered. Some turn to fertility treatments while others use a surrogate.
On February 26, NBC News reported that surgeons at Cleveland Clinic performed a nine hour uterus transplant on a 26 year old woman. It was a groundbreaking operation that doctors hope will allow women who don't have a healthy uterus the chance to have a baby.
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Doctor Rebecca Flyckt, an OB/GYN Reproductive Endocrinology, explains that "like any solid, organ transplant, like kidney transplant, we would take from an organ donor and then prepare that uterus to replace inside the recipient and which is our patient who has either a non-functioning or an absent uterus."
Prior to surgery, the woman had her eggs removed from her ovaries, fertilized, and then frozen, so if the transplant is successful a year from now she can have an embryo implanted.
While this is a huge step for the medical world, it's a long road to recovery for any patient. During the recovery, which normally takes a year, patients must take pills to help keep their body from rejecting the new organ.
Although this was the first uterus transplant in the United States, doctors in Sweden have performed the surgery nine times. Five women got pregnant resulting in four live births.