Mom welcomes baby born from a uterus transplanted from a dead woman

Pregnant woman
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Jennifer Gobrecht, who is now 33, was 17 years old when she was told that she could never get pregnant and carry a baby. Why? Because she was born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, which means that she has ovaries, but no uterus. It's not possible to carry a baby without a uterus.

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"That was a very difficult thing to hear as a teenage girl who had dreams of being a loving mother," said Jennifer. "Like many young girls, I dreamed of how it would feel to grow a baby in my womb, to feel them kick inside me and those dreams disappeared."

Fast forward to the present, and Jennifer and her husband Drew are the proud parents of a baby boy named Benjamin Thomas, who Jennifer carried herself using a transplanted uterus. It's an incredible story that led to what for so long seemed impossible to Jennifer.

In 2017, Jennifer and Drew were exploring surrogacy as an option.

They had undergone fertility treatments that resulted in several embryos and they were looking into finding a surrogate to carry their child when they found out about a uterine transplantation trial that researchers at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia were conducting.

“For women with uterine factor infertility, uterus transplantation is potentially a new path to parenthood--outside of adoption and use of a gestational carrier--and it’s the only option which allows these women to carry and deliver their babies,” said Dr. Kathleen O’Neill, who helps run the trial and is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology for the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jennifer became the first patient in the trial.

In 2018, Jennifer underwent a 10-hour uterine transplant surgery. The uterus came from a deceased donor. The Penn Medicine trial is one of very few that accepts donations from deceased donors.

There are several advantages from using a deceased donor. For one, doctors can include more of the blood vessels that are attached to the uterus and, unlike with living donors, there are no surgical risks for the donor.

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Later doctors implanted an embryo.

Six months after the uterine transplant, doctors implanted one of the Gobrechts' embryos and Jennifer became pregnant. “I felt the actual glow,” Jennifer said.

And then came Baby Benjamin.

Baby Benjamin was born in November 2019. If this little boy isn't a medical miracle, then we don't know what is.

“Two years ago, if you had told me I would be sitting here not only a mother but one who got to bear her own child, I simply would have not believed you,” Jennifer said. “But here I am.”

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Watch the Gobrechts' journey to parenthood.

WARNING: Seeing the couple's reaction when they find out they are pregnant will get you right in the feels. It's a touching moment. Congratulations to the Gobrechts!