Mother Donates Her Uterus To Another Woman For This Touching Cause

It’s hard for a woman to sit back and watch the same thing that happened to her happen to another woman, especially when it comes to wanting to have a child. This is the motivation behind Aprill Lane‘s sacrifice to another woman whom she had never met.

The unnamed beneficiary of Aprill’s benevolent donation according to ABCNews is a woman who has struggled for years with infertility, something that Aprill is all too familiar with.

Aprill, who now has five kids, ages 7 and under donated her uterus so the woman can experience motherhood. She said:

“It’s heavy. It’s a huge burden as a female feeling like you are failing the one part of you that you’re meant to do.

Infertility really, aside from the physical effects of it, it emotionally and socially affects you in a huge way. If I could help one other person be relieved of some of that, I would.”

READ ALSO: Mother Donates Uterus to Her Daughter As China Carries Out First Womb Transplant

The mom-of-five, who works for a biotech company, adopted her oldest son after she and her husband, Brian, were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and tried for four years to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Shortly after adopting their oldest son, Aprill became pregnant with their second child, a boy who is 13 months younger than his older brother.

She tried for a third child using IVF and, on her 10th cycle, she became pregnant with twin girls. A little less than a year after birthing the twins, Aprill unexpectedly got pregnant and delivered another baby girl.

Throughout her infertility struggle, Aprill helped run infertility support groups and started a scholarship foundation to help women pay for infertility treatments.

Through her foundation, she heard about uterus transplants being done in clinical trials at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. And she decided to give someone her uterus so they too can have kids.

“My husband and I both felt like our family-building had been resolved but we weren’t necessarily resolved with building a family for someone else. We knew pretty quickly after I got the call that I was selected [for the trial] that I was going to do it.”

Aprill travelled from Boston to Dallas where she had a surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas to have her uterus removed for the recipient who remains anonymous.

She became part of the 15th successful uterus transplant done at Baylor, one of the leading centers for uterus transplants in the world.

“Her story is incredible in itself because she was one of these women when she couldn’t have children, she chose options women had before uterus transplants. She knows the struggle very close up, what these women go through,” said Dr. Liza Johannesson, Aprill’s surgeon and a pioneer in the field.

Aprill’s surgery lasted around nine hours. Once the uterus is removed from the donor, it is inspected to confirm it is a perfect match and then transplanted into the recipient.

READ ALSO: A First: Woman without uterus gives birth after womb transplant

The donors and recipients do not meet each other until much later in the process — post-transplant — and only if they both want to meet.

“A lot [of the women] are meeting afterwards and they form incredible bonds,” said Dr. Johannesson, who added that in one case, a donor is now the godmother of a recipient’s baby.

Johannesson helped lead the animal trials and then human trials for uterus transplants in Sweden in the early 2000s. The idea to explore uterus transplants came from a patient who had cancer and had to have her uterus removed. The doctor recalled,

“She suggested out of the blue, ‘Why don’t you just do a uterus transplant?. That sounded crazy at the time.”

Women who are candidates for uterus transplants may have been born without a uterus, may have had cancer or may have other malformations, like infection or damage caused by miscarriages, in their uterus, according to Johannesson.

Both the donor and recipient must be in top medical condition to undergo the transplant.

A uterus transplant is unique in that it will not stay with the recipient for the rest of her life. After the recipient gives birth to one or two children, the uterus will be removed so the woman does not have to face a lifetime of strong anti-rejection medication.

Babies conceived after a uterus transplant are, so far, delivered by Caesarian section. Johannesson said she and her entire team are in the delivery room for every birth.

“What I’m most proud is of when we are there at the delivery and you can glimpse into the parents’ eyes and see their happiness. If you see that once in your life you are successful.”

Aprill said she spent around five days in the hospital and two more at a hotel in Dallas before she was allowed to fly back to Boston. She was not allowed to lift heavy objects for eight weeks — no small feat with five kids — and experienced pain and possibly long-term nerve complications.

But she said said she would do it all over again.

“Now as a mom of five, I can say I have a pretty severe case of PTSD from what we went through,” she said of her infertility journey, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Still when I see a pregnant belly, it’s like a punch in the gut. If I could help just one family, that’s healing for me. [The surgery] is short-lived and my recipient has her whole life thinking she can’t carry children, so for eight weeks of feeling [bad], it’s worth it.”

Two babies have been born successfully from these uterus transplants, one in December 2017 and one in March 2018.

Photo credit: ABCNews

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