Mum of 5 Donates Her Uterus to Another Woman After Years of Enduring Infertility
After suffering years of infertility before becoming a mum to her five children, Aprill Lane has chosen to donate her uterus, giving another woman the ability to conceive and carry a child.
The 39-year-old mum from Boston in the US shares five children under the age of seven with her husband Brian, but becoming a mum was far from an easy road for her. Years ago, the couple were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” This is an extremely frustrating diagnosis, yet a common one in couples who don’t appear to have any outlying health issues preventing conception but are still unable to successfully conceive on their own.
The pair adopted their oldest son after four years of IVF, then fell pregnant with their second child, a boy who is 13 months younger than his older brother. The Lanes tried for a third child using IVF and, on her 10th cycle, Lane became pregnant with twin girls. A little less than a year after delivering them, Lane unexpectedly got pregnant and delivered another daughter.
Her years of infertility led to Lane’s involvement in running infertility support groups and started a scholarship foundation to help women pay for infertility treatments. Through her foundation, Lane heard about uterus transplants being done in clinical trials at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
“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,” Lane said. “We knew pretty quickly after I got the call that I was selected [for the trial] that I was going to do it.”
“Infertility really, aside from the physical effects of it, it emotionally and socially affects you in a huge way,” she said. “If I could help one other person be relieved of some of that, I would.”
Lane’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.
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 Liza Johannesson, Lane’s surgeon and a pioneer in the field, who added that in one case, a donor is now the godmother of a recipient’s baby.
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 have all been delivered by Caesarian section so far.
“If I could help just one family, that’s healing for me,” Lane added. “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.”
Source: ABC News