A 26-year-old woman received a new uterus in Cleveland this week, a historic moment in medicine that had not previously been seen in the United States.
After nine hours of surgery inside the Cleveland Clinic, the woman is in stable condition. It's welcome news for women who face fertility challenges. Things like Uterine Factor Infertility, which affects almost five percent of women, can cause infertility. Cancer procedures and serious viral infections can also cause substantial damage to a woman's reproductive organs, which makes this option even more important for women who want children but can't conceive.
It's also powerful news for women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH), a syndrome that affects one in 4,500 newborn girls. MRKH can cause the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or even absent, according to the National Institutes of health.
"I looked at my husband last night when the article came out and said, 'This is so insane,'" Jacklyn Misch, who, was diagnosed with MRKH at 16, told ABC News. "For girls who are newly diagnosed, it will bring so much hope."
The woman in Cleveland received her uterus from a cadaver. As with many organs, the uterus can be preserved after death for future surgeries like this one.
While it was a first for the U.S., the procedure had already been performed in Turkey and Sweden. For the thousands of women who want to have children but can't, this news could be life-changing.
Cover photo: Joe Raedle / Getty