Uterus Transplant Donor Shares Her Story

A major medical-first happened in Dallas in November 2017 when doctors at Baylor University Medical Center delivered the nation's first baby born from a transplanted uterus.

Now 1-year-old, the baby boy is on TIME Magazine's January cover about the future of babies.

It took a large team of doctors, but the miracle wouldn't have been possible with the help from a donor who underwent a surgery she didn't need to help another woman experience pregnancy and childbirth.

Taylor and Clint Siler said life as a family of four couldn't be more perfect.

"I'm not having any more kids. I'm old enough already. I can't imagine!" said Taylor.

However, even though their family is complete, Taylor, a nurse and Clint, a software engineer, said they always wanted to help another couple start a family.

They decided against surrogacy, but when Taylor saw an article on a new uterus transplant trial she signed up to be an altruistic donor meaning she would be willing to donate her uterus to a stranger.

"I just wanted to help. I just wanted to see what I can do to help somebody that deserves to be great mom," said Taylor.

Taylor was one of the first potential donors for the new trial, in which doctors would attempt what's been done successfully fewer than a dozen times around the world.

Surgeons would take a healthy uterus from a woman and transplant it into another woman who had been either born without a uterus or had it removed.

Doctors estimate one in 500 women suffers from absolute uterine infertility.

"Every woman is supposed to carry a pregnancy. That's all we are doing. We are trying to restore normalcy," said Dr. Giuliano Testa, chief of abdominal transplantation at Baylor and principal investigator for the trial. 

With the medical team in place, they opened the call for donors and response they received, they said, surprised them.

More than 400 women, the majority of them from Texas, reached out to volunteer as a donor.

"When we talk to the other centers, here in the US and around the world, they don't have the same inflow of donors, so it might be that it's a southern or Texas thing," said Dr. Liza Johannesson, medical director for the Baylor trial.

"It's more than just donating an organ. These women, in reality, are donating the experience of pregnancy and that transcends the actual transplant itself," said Testa.

Taylor's transplant surgery happened in late 2016 and she said doubt began to seep in during preparation for the operation.

"I was like, 'What am I doing? Am I really going to go through with this major surgery? I'm getting in shape. We are having a good time. Life is really good right now. Do I really want to do to uproot all that? Change everything?'" she said.

"Then I thought about my recipient and I was like, 'Yes, because this isn't about me. This is about her.' This is about giving her the opportunity to do what I've already done twice." 

Since the organ donation was altruistic Taylor didn't know the recipient, but after the successful transplant they kept in touch through cards and letters.

"We were having dinner at our friends' house and we are sitting there and I'm reading the letter and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, we are pregnant!'"

Nine months later, Taylor got to meet the woman she calls her "womb sister" and the miracle baby.

"It was just, I mean, second only to having my own kids," she said.

The Silers said they have visited with the family several times. The family lives out of state and has chosen to stay anonymous, but now the Siler's family of four is bigger in ways they never imagined because of an immeasurable act of kindness.

"We are just happy to be here. Happy to be a part of it," said the couple.

Taylor's organ recipient told NBC 5 over the phone that she is incredibly grateful for the gift she received and that she and the baby are healthy.

The uterus she received from Taylor has been removed, because it "is needed only while the mother is pursuing pregnancy," according to a Baylor spokesperson.

The spokesperson added it was in the interest of the health of the mother to remove the uterus after the baby was born.

Doctors at Baylor expect this kind of transplant to be available to all women with absolute uterine infertility within five-to-10 years. 

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