10-hour transplant surgery and an embryo injection, followed by a 10-day wait for a positive result, gave the Gobrechts their miracle baby.
Like a lot of people, Jennifer Gobrecht also knew that she wanted to be a mother. However, things were proving to be slightly difficult for her because she was born without a uterus. Jennifer was told as a teenager that pregnancy and birth were not an option for her, according to CNN. But, it seems like the world had other plans for her because she did give birth to a beautiful baby boy. Jennifer is now the mother of the second baby in the United States to ever have been born from the transplanted uterus of a deceased donor.
33-year-old Jennifer is said to have successfully given birth via cesarean section to beautiful baby boy Benjamin Thomas Gobrecht in November as part of an ongoing trial to study uterine transplantation as a treatment option for people facing infertility, Penn Medicine in Philadelphia announced on Thursday. Baby Benjamin's birth is nothing short of a miracle, and Jennifer and her husband Drew Gobrecht, 32, who live outside of Philadelphia, agree.
"Benjamin means so much, not just to Drew and me, but to so many others, and hopefully he'll be able to inspire other couples to try this because it worked and he's here," Jennifer said. Jennifer was 17 when she found out that she was born without a uterus due to a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, or MRKH.
One of the red flags was that she never got her period, and by 17, most people with uteruses do. A couple of years later, Jennifer met Drew. "We were friends first, and I'm always transparent with my friends, letting them know, 'Hey, I have this condition, it's something about me but it's not completely defining who I am,' " Jennifer said. "When Drew and I started dating romantically, we always knew that we'd have a family of some sort, whether it be through adoption or surrogacy," she said. "That was always our vision that we had."
An estimate suggests that MRKH can actually hinder a woman's chances of becoming pregnant, and can actually affect up to 1 in 500 reproductive-age women worldwide. However, ongoing research makes it possible for people with the condition to opt for a uterine transplant. Jennifer and Drew knew of cases where women had given birth with transplanted uteruses, but they did not really know it would be an option for them.
"Being in a community that is the uterine factor infertility community, anything new and exciting is always interesting just to know about," Jennifer said, while also mentioning that she considered applying for the Penn Medicine trial after seeing it mentioned in a Facebook group. Drew was initially skeptical about being accepted, but thanks to Jennifer, he kept his hopes up. They figured luck wouldn't always be bad to them.
"Jen and I were at home talking about whether or not we wanted to participate in this trial and I'm thinking, 'There's all these risks involved and there's a really good chance that we don't end up with a child out of this.' I wasn't interested in the trial, but I wanted to make sure that this was the right decision for us," Drew said. "Then Jen said to me that she didn't want to just participate in this for her and for us as a way to start a family."
"She wanted the opportunity to potentially help other women who suffer from infertility by being a part of this exploration of the new science," he said. "That was the thing that really sold me." And, believe it or not, Jennifer was selected as the first member of Penn Medicine's trial. "It was surreal," Drew said. Then, as part of the trial, the couple had to wait for a donor uterus. Once a donor became available, Jennifer underwent transplantation surgery to receive the organ.
The transplant took around 10 hours to complete and Jennifer also had to take medications following the surgery to reduce the risk of her body rejecting the organ. Once the recipient has the baby, the organ is usually removed, which is what happened in Jennifer's case. Soon enough, an embryo was injected into Jennifer's womb and in ten days, they got the news that they were pregnant. Jennifer added that both she and Drew "broke down into tears" at the news that she was pregnant.
"We never thought it was an option for us," Drew said about the pregnancy. "We just didn't consider uterus transplant as a possibility. It was just, 'Oh this is a cool news story that will probably help women in the future someday.' ... It's still all sinking in," he said. "One of the most primal urges many of us feel is one to start a family, and the more options people have, people who suffer from infertility, the better." Now, Jennifer, Drew, and baby Benjamin are doing well.
Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.