Emelie Eriksson (30) and her son were born from the same womb. She has a bond with her son which hardly seems possible.
Emelie was the 1st woman to have a child after receiving a uterus from her mother.
“It is like science fiction. This is something that you read in history books and now in the future when you read about this, it’s about me”, Emelie Eriksson told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview at her house just north of Stockholm.
Emelie’s son Albin is now almost 2. She agreed to share this story because she hopes other women that need help having a baby will be inspired and encouraged by her family’s experience.
“I hope this will be a reality for everyone that needs it,” Eriksson said.
Mats Brnnstrom is a Swedish doctor who performed her operation. He is the only person in the whole world to deliver babies from women with donated wombs— 5 so far. Brannstom considers the operation will one day be affordable and common for every woman that needs it, and he is working with experts elsewhere, including at the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. and at Harvard Medical School and, to perfect the method.
2 of his former team associates were involved in 4 womb transplants at Baylor University in Texas, which were announced this month. One was successful but the patient isn’t still ready to attempt a pregnancy.
Emilie was 15 when she started wondering why she had not gotten her period; her doctor found she had been born without a womb and said that she would never be able to carry a baby.
In her 20s, Emilie started reading about experts attempting to create organs from stem cells and found out about the womb transplant research being followed by Brannstrom.
One Sunday evening in Stockholm, Eriksson described the new project to her mum.
“I thought this was something that could only happen (far) in the future. But then I said to Emelie, ‘I’m so old, I don’t need my womb and I don’t want any more children. This is your only chance to have a child and you should take it” said her mother, Marie Eriksson, 53.
Emilie emailed Brannstrom and after many trips to Gothenburg and several medical tests for both Emilie and her mum, they were accepted into his trial analysis the pioneering transplant.
“I’d known all my life that I wouldn’t be able to be pregnant. But maybe now there was a small, small chance for me” Emilie said.
Daniel Chrysong, Emilie’s husband, agreed to go ahead after meeting Dr. Mats Brannstrom and being reassured he was not “some lunatic doctor.” Yet, he doubted it would succeed.
“I thought (we had) a bigger chance of winning the lottery,” Chrysong said.
So, the world’s first womb transplant operation was about to begin!
The night before her and her mother’s operations, Emilie said, was the 1st time that she was sincerely afraid, especially because her mum was terrified of the anesthesia.
“I thought, ‘what if it does not work and my mom still has to do this surgery?’” Emilie said.
Eriksson had 2 mild rejection episodes in the months after the surgery, however, doses of steroids facilitated them pass. But, after one year Emilie was finally prepared to attempt to get pregnant. The team of Dr. Mats Brannstrom transferred a single embryo in Emilie’s womb, which she and Chrysong had made during in-vitro fertilization.
However, the 1st pregnancy test was negative. Emilie was so discouraged but took another one a week later and that test was positive.
“When I called my mom to tell her, she was like, ‘I knew it!’” Emilie said. She said her mum told her, “I knew I had a good womb.”
Emilie was only persuaded they had succeeded when she heard her baby scream in the delivery room.
“I realized that everything had worked,” Eriksson said.
Her husband was so overcome that he fainted and had to be watched over by the nurse on the floor of the hospital room.
Emilie said that she and her husband intend to one day describe to their son, Albin, exactly how he was born.
“I’m not sure he will understand exactly everything that I and my mother had to go through,” Emilie said.
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The research of Dr.Brannstrom into this range goes back nearly 20 years ago when he had an experience with a cervical cancer patient who needed a womb transplant. Even though at the time, Dr. Brannstrom found the idea pretty uncommonly, he decided to give it a shot.
The human uterine transplant wasn’t something usual. Actually, his study marked the moment the procedures started to be possible. His study also aims to expand diagnosis, treatment and post-operative care of people. His expertise in uterus transplantation and ovulation mechanisms establishes the basis for future studies in the area. The world’s first womb transplant operation was successful and is truly significant for the humanity.
Just in Sweden, around 2,000 – 3,000 women find it impossible to have babies because of uterine dysfunctions. In the meantime, in America, 50,000 women can’t get pregnant due to uterine factor infertility.