The couple who attempted to deliver the first baby in the United States using a donor uterus spoke about the heartbreak when it failed.
Lindsey and Blake McFarland spoke to NBC News about their dashed hopes.
“You lose more than just the uterus,” Blake said on “The Today Show” Monday. “You lose a lot of the hopes and dreams that you had for the future.”
Lindsey was born without a uterus. Before receiving the donor organ at the Cleveland Clinic, she underwent in vitro fertilization treatment.
The plan was for doctors to monitor Lindsey, with the donor uterus, for a year before implanting the couple’s embryo.
But the transplant failed within two weeks.
Lindsey (seated) and her husband Blake stand with Cleveland Clinic medical staff as they announce she was the nation’s first uterus transplant patient in March.
A common microbe, the Candida infection, “compromised the blood supply to the uterus, causing the need for its removal” the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement.
Hours after the transplant was announced, Lindsey noticed blood seeping from her incision. Rushed back into surgery, doctors discovered the infection had stopped blood from flowing to the uterus and caused complications involving an artery.
A week after the donor uterus was removed, she suffered another setback with the artery, this time supplying blood to her leg.
The complications have made Lindsey unable to participate in the experimental program at the Cleveland Clinic. Nine other women are still enrolled.
A team of transplant and gynecological surgeons perform the nation’s first uterus transplant during a 9-hour surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
The chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center, Dr. Tammaso Falcone, said they will not do another uterus transplant until the team knows how the infection happened and has a way to stop it from happening again.
Lindsey’s mom has offered to serve as a surrogate for her and could carry the embryos developed from the couple’s IVF treatments.
“There are days when I’m happy, and then there’s days where I’m kind of mad, and then days where I’m sad,” Lindsey told NBC News. “Everyone has said that that’s normal.”
The couple has three adopted sons and are headed home to Texas to resume their lives and recover.
Lindsey said she has no regrets.