Baby Born After Mother Has Uterus Transplant, Here’s Why It’s a Cause For Pro-Life Concern

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 7, 2018   |   10:46AM   |   Washington, DC

A second baby was born in the United States in February as a result of a successful uterus transplant.

The Daily Mail reports Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas celebrated the baby girl’s unique birth in an announcement this week. The hospital is one of just a few in the world that performs the experimental surgery.

The baby girl was born via cesarean section in February, weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces, and doctors said there were no complications with her birth, according to the report. The names of the girl and her family are not included in reports.

Doctors said the mother suffers from a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser and was born without a uterus. Before the pioneer surgery, the woman said she believed it was impossible for her to ever become pregnant.

“It’s important to carry your own child and to feel that bond that you have when she’s in your stomach,” she told The Dallas Morning News.

Lead obstetrician Dr. Robert Gunby said the little girl’s birth was a “fantastic” confirmation that the experimental surgery works. She is the second successful birth via womb transplant in America.

“You can deliver one and someone might say ‘you were lucky to do that,’” Gunby said. “But now we have replicated it. It is wonderful for these women who never thought this was possible in their life, let alone a few years ago.”

Here’s more from the report:

There have been at least 16 uterus transplants worldwide, including one in Cleveland from a deceased donor that had to be removed because of complications. Last month, Penn Medicine in Philadelphia announced that it also would start offering womb transplants. …

A baby resulting from a uterine transplant would be delivered by cesarean section.

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The wombs are not intended to be permanent.

Having one means a woman must take powerful drugs to prevent organ rejection, and the drugs pose long-term health risks, so the uterus would be removed after one or two successful pregnancies.

In 2014, a Swedish woman made medical history when she gave birth to the first child from a successful uterus transplant. Since then, several other Swedish women also have given birth after receiving uterus transplants. All were born prematurely. LifeNews reported about the first birth in September 2014.

Some ethicists are conflicted about the nature of uterus transplants.

Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who is leading the project at the Cleveland Clinic, believes uterus transplants – as opposed to surrogacy — are a better option for infertile women.

“You create a class of people who rent their uterus, rent their body, for reproduction,” he said of surrogacy. “It has some gravity. It possibly exploits women.”

However, bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith previously expressed his concerned about the implications of the transplant procedure.

Smith wrote in 2014:

Uterus transplants are “consumerist” procedures–as distinguished from “medical”–performed at sometimes great expense to enable lifestyle choices or help make dreams come true. As such, I believe they should be looked at differently than the usual healthcare.

[Unlike a kidney or heart transplant], transplanting a uterus is wholly elective, obviously performed to allow a woman to gestate and give birth. In other words, she has a bodily dysfunction, but is not sick. Indeed, her physical health is put at peril from the procedure, whereas doing nothing will not endanger her life or hurt her health. And given that the child is delivered early, there could be some risk to the baby.

LifeNews Note: File photo.