Mother of transgender son donates her uterus so that in future trans women may have the option of childbirth
Silvia believes that her surgery will help doctors at Baylor University to better understand the procedure and one day it would enable transgender women to have children.
Silvia Park gave birth to two beautiful children and after becoming a mother to her stepchild, she knew that she did not want to have more. However, she wanted someone else to also experience the feeling of being a mother and in order to make that happen, she decided to donate her uterus. The 49-year-old mother-of-three had happily raised a transgender son and watching herself stand proudly next to her son made her feel that there might be a transgender woman out there who would want to experience motherhood. While no one has transplanted a uterus into another person so far, Silvia believes that that the surgery to transfer her uterus to another anatomical woman will help doctors at Baylor University better understand the procedure and one day it would become possible for a transgender woman to have children.
Silvia told Cosmopolitan that she had no idea that her son, who was assigned female at birth, had gender dysphoria until he announced it at the age of 16 while they were together in the car. "'I'm a boy," she recalled him telling her. While Silvia had no idea that her child felt that way, she and her husband did not waste a second to support him and become a part of the transgender community.
In December 2017. Silvia came across an article which spoke about the first baby born to a woman who had a uterus transplant through Baylor University clinical trial for cis-gender women who didn't have functioning uteruses. This led Silvia to think about donating her uterus. My mind wandered from this particular woman," she said. "'I thought, maybe this kind of procedure could help transgender women—people who transition from a male birth assignment—carry their own children."
Even though Silvia knew well that this procedure was not available to a transgender woman yet, she wanted to do everything she could to help science before menopause hit. As reported by Daily Mail, so far only nine live donor uteruses have been transplanted in Sweden and a handful of them in the US. Only one of the woman in each country has gotten pregnant and given birth. Despite this, Silvia was ready to test the odds.
"The potential excited me," she said. She was well aware of the controversy that might surround this but despite all this, she was ready to hop onto this idea. "As a mother of two biological children and one stepchild, I've always believed that everyone should have the right to decide whether they want to carry a child, regardless of their gender. And I desperately wanted to contribute to the cause," she said.
Silvia had given birth to two children and was in a good health which made her a perfect candidate for donating the uterus. In order to remove the uterus from Silvia's body, Baylor surgeons made an incision from her belly button to the top of her pubic bone. They then detached the blood vessels that were connected her cervix and uterus to the rest of her body. Her Fallopian tubes were removed as well, but her ovaries were left intact so Silvia's hormones would continue to function normally until she hit menopause.
The doctors then ended the procedure by sewing her vagina shut. As one team of doctors performed the surgery on Silvia, another brought her uterus and cervix to the recipient and carefully reattached the vessels to that woman's blood supply. Eight hours after the surgery Silvia woke up. "I felt sharp pains emanating from within and a burning sensation as if my core muscles were being stretched. It was especially bad when I sneezed, which would cause brief bouts of excruciating agony," she said.
"My right leg, I noticed, felt numb, although my doctors explained this stemmed from nerve inflammation due to my positioning on the operating table," she added. Even though her recovery took time, she was focused to the extent that she did not ask to meet the woman who got her uterus and neither did the recipient. "As I move on with my life, the organ that made me a mother may soon give another woman a chance to experience the same kind of joy parenthood has given me," she said.
"Thinking of my uterus carrying someone else's baby doesn't strike me as weird. I no longer had a need for the body part. Now, it's being put to better use," she added. Silvia revealed that she hasn't told her transgender son about the donation but believes he would support her in the same way as she supports him. I don't need him to tell me he's proud of what I did. I like to think I would have done the same thing if I didn’t have a transgender child," she said.