Woman falls pregnant just weeks after receiving uterus transplant using her mum's womb
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A 30-year-old woman is celebrating her pregnancy just weeks after becoming the recipient in Australia's first uterus transplant.
On the one hand, she had a beautiful new baby. But on the other, she was left thinking she wouldn't be able to carry another child after undergoing a life-saving hysterectomy immediately after giving birth.
Kirsty was given a new hope when she took part in a research trial at The Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, which involved her undergoing a uterus transplant in January with her own mum, 54-year-old Michelle Hayton, as the donor.
The 16-hour surgery went well, and an embryo was transferred into the womb - the same one which formed Kirsty.
Amazingly the embryo transfer took, and Kirsty is now seven weeks pregnant.
"I was just super excited when I found out," she told ABC. "It almost feels like it's meant to be, but it's still sinking in that I am going to have another baby at the end of the year. It's so wonderful that my body can do this and that my mum has given me this gift.
"Mum is very excited. She can't wait to welcome another grandchild into the family … she is over the moon."
Rebecca Deans, the gynaecologist leading the trial, said medics are keeping all their 'fingers and toes crossed'.
"We had to monitor her really closely for rejection of the uterus and she's had absolutely no signs of rejection, so she's been really fortunate in that regard," Deans said.
Kirsty's pregnancy is considered high risk, so she will be closely monitored before the baby's due date in December.
She doesn't have nerves connected to the uterus, so she won't be able to feel contractions if she goes into labour, and instead will be monitored every two weeks from her 18th week of pregnancy.
At 37 weeks, she's expected to have a caesarean section to welcome the new baby into the world.
"Violet is very excited to have a brother or a sister," Kirsty said. "She hasn't decided which she'd prefer. She just keeps asking for a baby. My husband is stoked. I think it's still a bit surreal for him, too.
"People keep saying it's a miracle, but I try to remind them, 'No it's science. Science has got me here'."
Uterus transplants are temporary measures expected to last about five years for women who are hoping to carry more children.
According to Deans, there have been about 80 uterus transplants carried out around the world so far, and about 40 live births as a result.
She explained: "After our research we will review our findings and then hopefully offer [uterus transplant] as a treatment in Australia for women who are either born without a uterus or who have lost their uterus and want to be a parent.
"You are offering hope to women. It gives women choice and hope."