Kirsty received a uterus transplant in January. Now, she’s pregnant

Kirsty received a uterus transplant in January. Now, she’s pregnant

Source: Brisbane Times (Licensed by Copyright Agency)

The first woman to receive a uterus transplant in Australia has fallen pregnant just three months after undergoing the procedure in a major milestone for pioneering Sydney research, giving hope to women previously told they were unable to bear children.

Kirsty Bryant, from Coffs Harbour, is due to give birth to her second child before Christmas, less than a year after receiving her 54-year-old mother’s uterus in a marathon 16-hour surgery at Sydney’s Royal Hospital for Women in January.

“The idea of potentially having a new baby by Christmas, it’s just insane,” she said. “I got to see the heartbeat on an ultrasound [on Wednesday], and that really hit home that this is happening. I’m pregnant.”

Bryant underwent an emergency hysterectomy after suffering a haemorrhage following the birth of her daughter Violet in 2021. She was told she would never carry another child, but in December she and husband Nick will welcome a fourth member to the family.

“Violet actually can’t decide whether she wants a brother or sister – she says she just wants a baby,” Bryant said. “At least I can definitely bring home a baby.”

The 30-year-old is the first of two women to receive a uterus transplant through the trial so far, and in April became the first to receive an embryo transfer.

“It’s amazing that we can actually offer it.”Dr Rebecca Deans, gynaecologist leading the trial

Dr Rebecca Deans, the gynaecologist leading the trial, said Bryant’s immune suppression medication first needed to be tapered down to a level safe for pregnancy. Once she was satisfied there was little risk of the body rejecting the transplant, Bryant received the first of six of her embryos.

It only took one attempt.

“It’s come at the earliest time I would have expected to have had a positive outcome,” Deans said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Bryant’s mother and donor, Michelle Hayton, said the prospect of having a fifth grandchild – grown in the same womb as her own two children – made the 11-hour surgery and lengthy recovery worth it.

“To think that I gave her my uterus in January, and we could have a baby in December … I’m over the moon,” Hayton said. “This is the one thing that we wanted or hoped from the procedure.”

Although a significant milestone, Bryant and her family know there is still a long way to go. Her pregnancy is high-risk; the prescription medications ensuring she doesn’t reject the transplant have suppressed her immune system, and she won’t be able to feel contractions or movements in her uterus because it isn’t connected to her nervous system.

She will be monitored with an ultrasound every two weeks before undergoing a scheduled caesarean section at 37 weeks.

Uterus transplants are temporary and last around five years. The aim is to give women enough time to have children, but minimise the long-term side effects of immunosuppressants required after other organ transplants.

More than 70 uterus transplants have so far been performed worldwide, resulting in around 35 live births.

Deans is planning a second embryo transfer, and aims to provide transplants to a further four women during the first trial phase.

The trial is funded through the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation, and Deans hopes to secure further funding to perform transplants on another six women.

She said the trial was intended to expand the fertility options available to women in Australia.

“For many women, the thought of being able to carry their own child is a massive thing,” she said. “It’s amazing that we can actually offer it.”

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