UAB announces first baby born through its uterine transplant program

By Williesha Morris 

UAB first uterus transplant birth (Photo/Williesha Morris)

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) announced the first successful birth of a child through a uterine transplant at the UAB’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute. The program is one of four uterus transplant programs in the United States and the first in the world to open outside of a clinical research trial.

The patient, Mallory, who preferred not to share her last name or the name of her child, brought her son to the press conference and tearfully thanked all of the physicians who helped give her the transplant and deliver the baby in May by Cesarean section. Mallory was born without a uterus, a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, and she never dreamed of giving birth to a child.

“Thank you for safely delivering my baby,” Mallory said, pausing to wipe her tears.

Mallory is one of less than 100 women in the world who have undergone a uterine transplant, said Dr. Brian Casey, chair of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. And she is one a even fewer number who have delivered a healthy baby after the transplant, he said.

The process involves the mother having eggs fertilized and frozen, the implanting of the uterus, invitro fertilization, and extensive checkups and treatment. The mother can then decide if she wants to have another child with the transplanted uterus. Once everything is complete, the transplant doctor removes the uterus so the mother doesn’t have to continue taking immuno suppression medications.

School of Medicine dean Dr. Anupam Agarwal gave remarks, along with Dr. Paige Porrett, director of UAB’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute, and Casey.

Agarwal referred to Mallory’s child as a “miracle baby” and added, “I’m confident that we will celebrate many more births and milestones in the months and years to come.”

Porrett said even though this isn’t considered a “life-saving” transplant, it does give a mother and her family reproductive autonomy.

“With this transplant, we are accomplishing a number of things. Most importantly, we are enabling women to gestate and to experience pregnancy and ultimately deliver a baby in the way that they want to use to build their families,” Porrett said.

Public relations manager Savannah Koplon said Mallory and her family are ready to be a family and move on from this milestone. However, Mallory acknowledged during the press conference the importance of what has happened and her role in it.

“I’m so very fortunate to be a part of this program. I’ve had an amazing experience that I truly enjoyed,” she said. “I can’t wait to watch the program grow and continue to give many other women the opportunity that I was given.”