Aprill Lane is the mom of five kids under the age of 7, but creating such a big brood was not simple for her. Ms. Lane, who lives with her family outside Boston, dealt with fertility issues of her own for years while she tried to have kids. And once her uterus had done its job, she decided to donate it so that another woman could hopefully use it to conceive her own baby.
“Infertility really, aside from the physical effects of it, it emotionally and socially affects you in a huge way,”Ms. Lane told ABC News. “If I could help one other person be relieved of some of that, I would.”
Ms. Lane and her husband Brian were diagnosed with “unexplained fertility,” the diagnosis given to couples who don’t seem to have any health issues stopping them from getting pregnant, but who are still unable to conceive without help.
They tried in vitro fertilization (IVF) for four years, and ended up adopting a boy before getting pregnant with their second son. They underwent IVF again to try for a third child, and Ms. Lane became pregnant with twin girls. Then a year later, they got pregnant unexpectedly and their third daughter was born.
During her struggles with infertility, Ms. Lane helped run support groups for other people dealing with the same issue. She also started a scholarship foundation to help people pay for their infertility treatments, which is how Ms. Lane ended up hearing about uterus transplants being performed at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
“My husband and I both felt like our family-building had been resolved but we weren’t necessarily resolved with building a family for someone else,” Ms. Lane said. “We knew pretty quickly after I got the call that I was selected that I was going to do it.” After a nine-hour surgery, Ms. Lane became Baylor’s 15th uterus transplant.
Dr. Liza Johannesson, a pioneer in the field of uterus transplants and Ms. Lane’s surgeon for the procedure, said of Ms. Lane, “Her story is incredible in itself because she was one of these women when she couldn’t have children, she chose options women had before uterus transplants. She knows the struggle very close up, what these women go through.”
As a result of the surgery, Ms. Lane couldn’t lift heavy objects for eight weeks and suffered possiblelong-term nerve complications. But she’d still do it all over again, she says.
“Now as a mom of five, I can say I have a pretty severe case of PTSD from what we went through,” she said of her struggles with getting pregnant. ”Still when I see a pregnant belly, it’s like a punch in the gut.”
She added, “If I could help just one family, that’s healing for me. [The surgery] is short-lived and my recipient has her whole life thinking she can’t carry children, so for eight weeks of feeling [bad], it’s worth it.”
h/t: ABC News