But her view changed when she saw the success of Swedish gynaecologist Dr Mats Brännström. Since he started performing these procedures, there have been 75 uterine transplants worldwide, resulting in over 30 live births.
Dr Rebecca Deans is hoping to lead Australia’s first uterine transplant trial.
“And he really did turn my mind on this topic… [because] there’s been a number of pregnancies and he’s trained many, many teams around the world,” says Dr Deans.
One in 4,500 to 5,000 women are born without a uterus – due to a condition known as MRKH Syndrome. But there are also women who have lost their uterus to conditions such as cervical cancer or emergency hysterectomies in childbirth.
Mother’s body, grandmother’s womb
She started to research her options and that’s how she discovered a uterine transplant trial was set to take place in Sydney.
Kirsty hopes to carry a sibling for her daughter through a uterus transplant. Credit: The Feed
“So it’s a big surgery for the donor,” says Dr Deans. “And in fact, the risks for the donor are greater than for the recipient.”
The extraction required is more involved than a standard hysterectomy. Credit: The Feed
The extraction isn’t a standard hysterectomy, because they need to take quite a lot of the blood vessels surrounding the uterus to be able to attach it to the recipient.
“Kirsty’s not just my daughter. She’s my best friend,” says Michelle. “If I could help in any way, then I’m there … book me in.”
So when Kate went to see what her options were with a fertility specialist, they told her she didn’t have any.
Kate is another hopeful future candidate for a uterine transplant in Australia. Credit: The Feed
“They just said ‘you’re in menopause,’” says Kate. “’You’re never gonna have a kid’”.
To be selected for the uterine transplant you need to have successfully produced five embryos through IVF.
Not only has her body hormonally returned to a pre-menopausal state – but her medical team were able to successfully harvest 11 of Kate’s eggs.
Not only does this mean Kate has a chance at having her own biological children, it brings her one step closer to being selected for the uterine transplant trial as well.
To carry a child
While Dr Deans acknowledges there are some ethical considerations to be made, she also sees the transplant trial’s life-changing potential.
There are just 12 spots available for what could be an Australian first. Credit: The Feed
“Not every woman, but some women have a deep desire to carry a child and that’s unquestionable,” says Dr Deans. “It might talk to …what it is to be a woman.”