NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 6 million women in this country struggle with infertility. In some cases, a woman is born without the anatomy to carry a baby.
That’s why a woman in Pennsylvania chose to undergo a rare procedure.
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has more on her remarkable story.
“It was hard knowing that I would never be able to carry a child. One of my dreams was being able to carry my own,” said “Michelle,” who didn’t want to use her last name.
Michelle was 16 years old 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. We decided to do an ultrasound to see if I had a uterus. I didn’t have one,” she said.
When she got married, Michelle and her husband, Rich, thought about adoption, but a Facebook post about a uterus transplant took them to the Cleveland Clinic.
After an in-depth screening process, doctors determined she was a good candidate for 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,” Dr. Cristiano Quintini said.
After a 14-hour transplant procedure, Michelle spent six months recovering at home.
“She got pregnant with her first embryo transfer, which was very exciting, obviously to her, but also to the whole team,” Dr. Uma Perni said.
“I didn’t start to feel him kick until like 27 weeks. That was one thing, like, I wanted to feel and see was him moving,” Michelle said.
When the big day finally arrived, a huge team helped deliver a healthy baby boy by Cesarean section. Baby Cole spent a week in the NICU before going home in March.
“Most of the time he is very quiet, very easy, smiles,” Rich said.
“To know somebody else’s uterus helped me achieve him and to hold him, it was like the best thing in the world,” Michelle said.
Being born without a uterus is surprisingly common. The syndrome affects about 1 in every 4,500 newborn girls. Usually, there are no abnormalities other than the uterus and birth canal.
A team of caregivers from more than 12 specialities spent four years preparing Michelle to become a mom.