Brigitte is the mother of Deborah, who gave birth on February 12 to a little Misha, the first baby in France born thanks to a uterus transplant.
Deborah, with Rokitansky syndrome (MRKH) thought she could never have children. Until his mother donated her own uterus to him.
Transplanted on March 31, 2019 at Foch hospital in Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine) by the team of Prof. Jean-Marc Ayoubi, Deborah gave birth to a granddaughter. Brigitte and Jean-Claude, his parents, tell.
How do you feel at the birth, out of the ordinary, of your granddaughter?
Brigitte : We are very happy and very proud like grandparents! This adventure ends very well. We have a lovely granddaughter. He’s a beautiful baby. It measures 42 centimeters, and weighs 1,850 kilograms. She is still in the incubator because she is premature. She was born at 33 weeks pregnant, and passed the fateful 32 weeks mark, set by doctors for her to develop well. This birth is an immense joy, and gives hope to all these women who did not think they could have children.
Are you going to see her soon?
Jean Claude : Unfortunately, we live in Mayotte and we are confined. We can’t travel but we see her every day on video, and we get pictures of her. Long live technology! As soon as we can move again, we will take the plane to take her in our arms.
How did the parents tell you the news?
Jean Claude : My son-in-law sent us a message: “That’s it: we’re going to the OR, Misha is coming!”. Three quarters of an hour later, she was there. As the pregnancy was linked to a transplant, it was expected that the delivery would take place by cesarean section, and before term.
Brigitte : Then we got my daughter by Skype. We were very proud to see this beautiful baby, and to know that both of them were in good health. We are now grandparents for the fourth time.
Did you follow this pregnancy with some trepidation? How did you experience it?
Brigitte : We experienced it as a normal pregnancy. We used to Skype with my daughter every week to update each other.
We were more worried a few days before the birth, where she had strong contractions and problems with tension. But we were reassured because both the baby and the mother were monitored 24 hours a day by the medical team. And, since mid-January, my daughter Deborah lived at “La maison des parents”, next to the Foch hospital in Suresnes, so that the doctors could intervene quickly in the event of a problem.
How did you, as a grandmother, experience the fact that your little girl was growing up in your own womb?
The day I was removed from my uterus to transplant it to my daughter, it was no longer my uterus. It was his. It grew along with his blood vessels. When I saw my daughter’s belly, I saw the belly of a mother who was going to have a baby. I made a very clear statement at the time of the donation. The uterus belonged to him. He was irrigated by her own blood. He was an integral part of her. We followed her pregnancy like a normal pregnancy.
Did you hesitate before embarking on this extraordinary medical adventure?
Brigitte : I always said to my daughter: if it can be done, I will give you my uterus. She had started procedures in Limoges, in a protocol based on donations from deceased people. Then, she heard about the protocol with Dr Ayoubi, from a living donor. Deborah and her husband came back to us to ask if my proposal still stood.
She was afraid of this decision. She feared how her father or brothers would react if anything happened to me because of the operation.
We had talked a lot with my husband. For us it was clear that we were ready to do it. On our side, there was no problem. I was ready to take the risk. We started out as winners from the start. And we were confident – in Sweden there had already been eight births. And we were very well surrounded.
Did you feel guilty when you learned of your daughter’s illness as a teenager?
Brigitte : We always think about it a little bit. Even if we are not involved, and it is bad luck (this disease affects about one in 4,500 women), as a mother we still feel a little bit of guilt.
Jean Claude : At 16, she was missing her period. We thought it was related to the fact that she played high level sport. We consulted a gynecologist in Marseille, who made the diagnosis and told us that for now nothing was possible. He told us to trust science, and that maybe one day a uterus transplant would be possible.
At the time, did this sound close to science fiction to you?
Brigitte. At 16, she wasn’t thinking about the baby yet. It must have been more complicated at the age of 25-30 when those around her started having children. Even though at first she was a little resigned, deep inside she still hoped for a miracle.
Jean Claude : She was always on the lookout for what was happening in this area. And I too followed scientific advances. This is how we heard about the first transplant in Sweden. This opened up a possibility of hope.
Brigitte : Today, in our turn, with this birth, we offer hope to these women who cannot have children because they do not have a uterus. We hope that we will give back joy!
Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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