A woman has given birth to a baby girl after receiving five organ transplants six years ago. The birth is believed to be a world first for a transplant patient of this number.
Fatema Al Ansari from Qatar was given a new liver, pancreas, stomach, and small and large intestine at a Miami’s Jackson Memorial hospital in 2007.
Her 4 pounds 7 ounces baby daughter was delivered by Cesarean section on February 26 at the same hospital. The baby has been named Alkadi Alhayal.
Holding her sleeping child at a press conference on Wednesday, Ms. Ansari said she was “overjoyed,” adding, “It’s a hard feeling to express. It’s the best feeling in the world!” An Arabic interpreter translated for the parents.
The new mother and her husband, Khalia Alhayal, plan on returning home to Qatar within the next few weeks.
Ms. Ansari is the first five-organ transplant patient out of the 600 recorded since 2011 to give birth, according to data from the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry and figures from the Intestinal Transplant Association.
Now 26-year-old, Ms. Ansari was 19 when when she was diagnosed with a blood clot in a major vein to her intestines and required transplant surgery after her abdominal organs began to fail.
Dr. Shalih Y. Yasin, the woman’s obstetrician, said there have been some cases in Europe of births by transplant patients who had two foreign organs “but not five.” She added that an adult with five transplanted organs who is sufficiently healthy enough to even consider having a child “is a miracle by itself.”
Ms. Ansari was forced to terminate a previous pregnancy after her diagnosis, which led her to believe she would never be able to get pregnant. She and her husband eventually turned to in vitro fertilization.
Her husband said, “We wanted to say this was a very hard decision,” adding, “but we wanted to give hope to other people who have transplants and give them a chance too.”
In fact, Ms. Ansari’s doctors say that despite having five organ transplants, she is healthy enough to try for a second baby.
Dr Thomas Fishbein, Executive Director at Georgetown’s Transplant Institute, who did not treat Ms Al Ansari, also commented on the uniqueness of the case.
“While we have a good success rate to get patients to survive and back to normal, almost none of them go on to bear children… so this is very good news for the field,” he said.