Gothenburg [Sweden], 5 December (ANI): According to a study from the University of Gothenburg, new mothers have a feeling of unreality after childbirth because they have had a uterine transplant that was not possible for a decade.
The research has been published in the ‘Human Reproduction Journal’.
The first author was Stina Jarvholm, associate professor of psychology at the University of Gothenburg and clinical psychologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
Jarvholm belongs to the research group for uterine transplantation that has received international attention for its medical advances and which has also distinguished itself for its research and publications on the long-term psychological impact of transplants on donors, recipients and partners.
The current study included seven women who either had no uterus since birth or needed to have it removed. All seven had lived in the belief that they would never become birth parents. When they received a uterine transplant in 2013, their average age was 29 years.
The results, based on annual interviews with the women up to 2018, clearly showed that in many ways they experienced their situation like most other mothers. Becoming a mother felt both exciting and challenging and couple relationships were put to the test.
At the same time, the women had concerns in connection with the procedure itself. Some were concerned that the baby would be adversely affected during pregnancy, and some felt that the pregnancy was not really their own, given the extensive medical supervision they were undergoing.
“I wonder if you love your child in a different way, precisely for the reason that it turned out the way it did,” one woman reflected in an interview.
Another woman laughed a little when she told how she sometimes, when she was out shopping with her child, suddenly thought: “What have I done?” and “What if people around me knew?” “Psychologically, it seems that becoming a mother after a uterine transplant is a mixture of feeling just like everyone else and at the same time struggling with a feeling of unreality,” stated Stina Jarvholm.
The uterine transplants from living donors in 2013 were part of the world’s first systematic, science-based research project in this area. It was led by Mats Brannström, University of Gothenburg’s professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy and chief physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
After the first birth in Gothenburg in 2014, another seven births followed before a woman outside Sweden gave birth to a child after a uterine transplant. So far, 12 babies have been born within the framework of the Swedish research project, while the global number is about 40.
Jarvholm emphasized that uterine transplantation is an advanced form of infertility treatment that extended over many years and included both recipients, parties and donors.
“The findings help us to provide psychological support at times when women are under extra stress – when, for example, they repeatedly try to get pregnant without success or have a miscarriage – and for those who need to leave the project without getting pregnant. Parents in the way they had hoped, said Jarvholm.
“The knowledge we have acquired is also useful for people who meet these women while they are pregnant. It helps them to provide good support based on the women’s specific needs and to understand that what was previously impossible is becoming a reality,” she concluded. (ANI)