For a group of families, it is an especially special weekend dedicated to celebrating mothers.
On Saturday, Baylor University Medical Center officials hosted an event for donors, recipients and babies who have been part of its groundbreaking womb transplant program. Women who have finished having children can donate their uterus to another woman in the hope of experiencing a pregnancy.
The program is the largest of its kind in the world, according to Steve Newton, executive vice president of Baylor Scott & White.
“In my 30 years in health care, this is one of the most amazing miracles we’ve ever been a part of,” Newton said. “Our team has a restless spirit that is always looking for new ways to solve long-term, challenging problems. They came up with this after seeing early efforts around the world. They came over and said, ‘We think we can do this. We believe we have the talent and we have the research base. We are committed to making this possible.’”
For some mothers, Saturday’s event at the Dallas Arboretum was a chance to meet their donors in person for the first time. Madison Gibbs of Frisco, now a mother of two, was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) when she was a teenager.
“Basically, MRKH is diagnosed with no uterus or with an underdeveloped uterus. So, I had everything else to make the baby, but I couldn’t carry it,” Gibbs said. “I knew adoption or surrogacy was going to be an option.”
She and her husband married in 2018 and contacted Baylor about the program that same year. Eventually, she was paired with Justin’s resident, Janice Bage.
“I have two older children. They are 12 and 9 years old, and they are the light of my life,” said Bage. “I’m done with my family. We knew we were sold out, so why not? Provide it for something good.”
Bage said that infertility has been an issue that has remained close to her heart, which is why she has been a surrogate mother twice. For Baylor’s uterine transplant program, she recalled going through 6 to 8 months of testing to ensure the surgery was a success.
“I’ve been asked a million times, ‘Are you sure this is something you want to do?’ They were so good at explaining every detail of everything,” she said. “The uterus and cervix, all of that was surgically removed along with the blood supply to the nerves. They could transplant it into the recipient and reconnect the entire blood supply.”
Bage and Gibbs met for the first time in person on Saturday.
“I went up to her and started crying. My heart, like, couldn’t say ‘thank you’ enough times to be able to do this,” Gibbs said. “I’m so, so thankful for her.”
14 babies have been born through Baylor’s uterine transplant program.