April Lane learned about uterus implant trials at university and wanted to give it a try.
A mother of five donated her uterus to give another woman the chance to carry a child. April Lane who suffered through years of her own infertility struggles knows that the journey to becoming a mom is not easy. Years ago, she and her husband Brian were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” The condition is a common but frustrating diagnosis for couples facing fertility problems. They may not appear to have any outlying health issues but are still unable to successfully conceive on their own. The pair tried for four years to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. Over time they were able to have 5 children: 2 boys, a girl, and twin girls.
A beautiful story of giving back! Mom of 5 Who Struggled With Infertility Donates Uterus to Woman in Need | Inside Edition https://t.co/K46Jgwl04S— IVFMD (@IVFMDFlorida) April 4, 2019
“Infertility really, aside from the physical effects of it, it emotionally and socially affects you in a huge way,” Lane told ABC News. “If I could help one other person be relieved of some of that, I would.” Lane later helped run infertility support groups. She even started a scholarship foundation to help women pay for infertility treatments, through which, Lane heard about uterus transplants. They were being done in clinical trials 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,” Lane said, according to Good Morning America. “We knew pretty quickly after I got the call that I was selected [for the trial] that I was going to do it.”
Lane, who was part of one of the 15 transplants at Baylor, traveled between Boston and Dallas for pre-op appointments and the surgery. “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,” said Dr. Liza Johannesson, Lane's surgeon and an expert in the field. “She knows the struggle very close up, what these women go through.” Babies conceived after a uterus transplant is usually delivered by Caesarian section. "What I’m most proud is of when we are there at the delivery and you can glimpse into the parents' eyes and see their happiness," she said. "If you see that once in your life you are successful."
Lane's surgery took place for around nine hours. Once the uterus is removed, it was studied and then confirmed to be a perfect match. After which it was transplanted into the recipient. The recipient remains anonymous but Lane is in touch with them. Usually, donors and recipients do not meet each other until much later in the process. And this happens only if both parties want to do so. "A lot [of the women] are meeting afterwards and they form incredible bonds," said Johannesson, who added that in one particular case, a donor is now the godmother of a recipient's baby. According to Inside Edition, Lane said she has exchanged letters with the woman who received her uterus. “We are incredibly grateful for the success we’ve had,” Lane said. “Giving back has been really healing for us. It’s been healing for me personally and collectively for our family. It’s very rewarding."