Aprill Lane knows what it feels like to suffer through infertility. The mother of five and her husband Brian were diagnosed with 'unexplained infertility' as they tried for years to get pregnant. After four years of IVF treatment, the pair decided to adopt a son, and shortly after Lane discovered she was pregnant. IVF helped the couple get pregnant with their twin daughters, and almost a year after they were born Lane got pregnant naturally with her fifth child.
The couple now has five children under the age of 7, but Lane has never forgotten how she felt as she struggled to conceive. This is why she told Good Morning America, she chose to donate her uterus so another woman could experience the joy of having a child. “Infertility really, aside from the physical effects of it, it emotionally and socially affects you in a huge way,” Lane said. “If I could help one other person be relieved of some of that, I would.”
Lane's struggle with infertility and IVF treatments made her want to help others who were also struggling, so she started the ACG Scholarship Fund to help other women pay for their fertility treatments. When she heard of the uterus transplants being performed at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas she and her husband knew they wanted to be involved.
“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. “We knew pretty quickly after I got the call that I was selected [for the trial] that I was going to do it.” Lane was the 15th uterus transplant done at the University. What's even more impressive is that as a donor, Lane was required to pay for all expenses out of her own pocket because she didn't qualify for time off from her employer, which included traveling from her home just outside of Boston to Dallas.
“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 told GMA. “She knows the struggle very close up, what these women go through.”
Johannesson told the news site that women may require a uterus transplant for a number of reasons. One in 4500 women in the United States is born every year without a uterus. Some may have had cancer or other damage done to their uterus. Johannesson, who moved to Baylor two years ago from Sweden, stated that both the donor and the recipient must be in top physical condition to be considered for the transplant. After the recipient gives birth to one or two children, the donor uterus is then removed.
Babies conceived using a donor uterus are delivered by cesarean section, and Johannesson said that for her team, watching these babies be born is truly amazing. "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."
Although Lane says she experienced about 8 weeks worth of pain after the 9-hour operation and possibly some long term nerve damage, she wouldn't hesitate to do it all again.
"If I could help just one family, that’s healing for me," Lane added. "[The surgery] is short-lived and my recipient has her whole life thinking she can’t carry children, so for eight weeks of feeling [bad], it’s worth it."