A Coffs Harbour woman has become the first Australian to receive a transplanted uterus in a medical breakthrough at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney.
The organ was donated by Bryant’s 54-year-old mother, Michelle Hayton, who endured an 11-hour operation to remove her womb.
Hayton met all the relevant criteria for a donor, including being fit, premenopausal and, crucially, willing to hand over her womb without expecting anything in return.
The Swedish surgeon who performed the world’s first uterine transplant in 2012, Professor Mats Brannstrom, led the operations on Bryant and Hayton, sharing his expertise with the team at the Royal.
The donor surgery to remove Hayton’s uterus, which began at 7am, was by far the longer and riskier of the two operations, Brannstrom said.
“There are small blood vessels going out, and we try to isolate those. The problematic thing is that there is a ureter on each side. And the ureter goes from the kidney to the bladder, and we cannot injure that.”
While the operations were free of major complications, the recovery for both patients has not been easy. Bryant experienced significant blood loss 24 hours after the surgery and required transfusions, while Hayton suffered a serious infection and is yet to feel any sensation in her bladder.
However, a month on from the biggest day of their lives, Bryant and Hayton said they have no regrets – even though there is no guarantee of the reward of a baby.