'Our little miracle': Penn Medicine announces baby born by uterine transplant from dead donor

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Friday, January 10, 2020
Penn Medicine announces first baby in area born by uterine transplant from deceased donor
Penn Medicine announces first baby in area born by uterine transplant from deceased donor. Beccah Hendrickson reports on Action News.

PHILADELPHIA -- Jennifer and Drew Gobrecht never thought they'd be able to have their own children. When Jennifer was 17, she found out she didn't have a uterus.

"That was a lot to deal with because in my heart of hearts, I know I'm a mother. I know one day I'll be someone's mother," she said.

Hope for that day came two years ago when she heard Penn Medicine, in Philadelphia, was looking for applicants to get a uterine transplant from a deceased donor.

Penn Medicine introduced the first couple in the area to have a baby via uterine transplant from a deceased donor.

"Talked about all the criteria of the applicants they were looking for and I was like, 'This is me,'" Gobrecht said.

There had only ever been one other baby born in the United States from a uterus from a deceased donor.

At a press conference Thursday, Penn Medicine announced doctors had successfully done the transplant and the Gobrecht's welcomed a baby boy, named Benjamin Thomas. He's 8 weeks old and was born just in time for the holidays.

"When you actually see the baby, it's very surreal. It was a professional and personal high," said Dr. Kathleen O'Neill, the medical director for Penn Medicine's uterine transplant program.

"I cried a lot and he snuggled right in and it was just that moment, that connection, it was remarkable," said Gobrecht.

Penn Medicine says it is currently working with another patient and is also looking for more women to become applicants for a uterine transplant.

The doctors say there is one day this will become a normal option for women. Gobrecht says it was the perfect option for her and her family.

"Everything we went through culminated to him and he was perfect our little miracle," she said.

Baylor Medical Center in Texas is also conducting a clinical trial of uterine transplants, though from living donors.