“One of the hardest days of my life was when I was 17-years-old and learned I would never be able to carry my own child,” said Jennifer Gobrecht, 33, in a recent Penn Medicine news release. Jennifer was born with a syndrome called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser, a genetic abnormality, which means she was born without a uterus. Gobrecht had working ovaries but without a uterus, she was thought to never be able to carry her own baby.
But in the redemption of God’s Kingdom, all things are possible and miracles come in many different forms. Some through the supernatural acts of Heaven and others through the brilliant ways of science.
November 2019 Benjamin Gobreecht was born via cesarean section at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with the help of a clinical trial where Benjamin’s mother received a uterus from a deceased donor.
The syndrome Gobrecht was born with effects 1 out of every 4,500 females. Gobrecht’s case qualified as Uterine Factor Infertility (UFI), which qualified her for the trial.
Leaving that day I knew (or thought) I would never be able to have my own children. But thankfully things change as brave and wise people step into unchartered territories.
I personally know how Jennifer felt finding out such a “life-altering” piece of information at such a young age. As it happens, I was also diagnosed with the very same MKHS syndrome at age fifteen. I will never forget sitting in a big doctor’s office that looked a bit like a library as the doctor and his interns looked at me sort of like a lab rat. As they pulled out one of the biggest books I’d ever seen and read off a very long confusing name which they were diagnosing me with.
According to the Penn Medicine news release, Gobrecht said, “When I signed up for this trial, I hoped it would help my husband and me start a family, but I also strongly believe in helping others. My hope is that through this research, others with similar struggles will have the same opportunity.”
Doctor Uma Perni from the Cleveland Clinic maternal-fetal medicine specialist said in a news release that, “We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.” He continued, “It’s important to remember this is still research. The field of uterus transplantation is rapidly evolving and it’s exciting to see what the options may be for women in the future.”
According to CBS News, the unidentified deceased donor’s mother said in a statement that she is “extremely proud to support transplantation.”
My daughter was the best mother I ever knew. Nothing was more important to her than her children. What a beautiful and fitting legacy for her to help give the gift of motherhood to another woman.
And the Gobrecht’s couldn’t be more thankful for her donation as they shared in a news release, “Benjamin is truly a miracle.”
About a dozen women have given birth after womb transplants in the U.S., but most have received a uterus from living donors, usually friends or family.
“Uterus transplantation is potentially a new path to parenthood—outside of adoption and use of a gestational carrier,” i.e. surrogate, said Dr. Kathleen O’Neill—an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania—in a news release. “It’s the only option that allows these women to carry and deliver their babies.”
According to the New York Times, Gobrecht said she felt the actual glow of being pregnant with her son Benjamin. She went on to say, “Feeling Benjamin’s little kicks and seeing all the ultrasounds are priceless to me.” But there were difficult parts. Ms. Gobrecht had to take immunosuppressant medicine and follow a strict regimen to prevent her body from rejecting the organ.
“It can be a lot,” she said. But she was inspired and supported by other women who had undergone the procedure and wanted to help advance the science for others. “I hope that this process can be another mainstream option for couples hoping to have children that don’t necessarily have the option to do it the standard, natural way,” she said.
After Ms. Gobrecht gave birth to her son, doctors removed the uterus. On Thursday, her husband, Drew Gobrecht, said the couple was relishing changing diapers and feeding their son at their home outside Philadelphia.
“It’s been an abnormal journey so far,” he said. “We’re excited about the normal stuff.”