Jennifer Gobrecht and her husband Drew knew they wanted to be parents. They also knew, however, that their journey to parenthood would probably end up being a little special and unusual.
Jennifer was born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), which, simply put, means she was born without a uterus, making conceiving her own biological child impossible. When she and Drew started dating in 2007, she was up-front with him about her condition.
For his part, Drew was still fully in. “I knew Jen and I would be parents one day. I didn’t know how. We knew it might be hard, but I knew we’d find a way.”
The two got married in 2014 and waited two years to undergo IVF. They ended up creating 10 embryos that were all viable, so they started thinking about how they might want to create their family.
And then Jennifer read a post in a Facebook group about a clinical trial being conducted at Penn Medicine Hospital in Philadelipha … a clinical trial for women who would need a uterus transplant to conceive a child.
“It seemed like they were looking for someone just like me,” Jennifer says. So with that in mind, she decided to apply.
Dr. Kathleen O’Neill, the medical director of the trial, was careful to explain to Jennifer and Drew that the trial came with a lot of risks and no guarantee that they would have a baby. This left the pair on the fence: Should they go through with what could be a risky experience for a shot at biological parenthood? While they were talking it over, Jennifer made the point that not only would the trial potentially help them, but it could help others who are in the same situation. That sold Drew, and they committed to the trial.
Six months after receiving her uterus transplant, Jennifer conceived (on the first try), and the pair’s baby was born in November 2019. Jennifer is the second woman in the world to conceive after receiving a uterus transplant from a deceased donor, and that is pretty powerful.
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