A woman who underwent a five-organ transplant in 2007 recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Doctors believe that this is the first known case of a five-organ transplant patient delivering a child.
Fatema Al-Ansari, who received a new liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, told the Associated Press that she was overjoyed to be a mother. She gave birth on February 26, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, the same place where she underwent her transplant 5 years ago.
On March 13, Al Ansari and her husband, Khalifa Alhoyal, addressed questions from reporters with the help of her doctors. The baby, Alkadi Ahayal, slept soundly in her mother’s arms throughout the interviews. “It’s the best feeling in the world,” Al Ansari said in Arabic, with her words being translated by an interpreter.
Al Ansari and her husband live in Qatar, and hope to return there shortly to begin raising their daughter. Al Ansari also lived there at age 19, when a blood clot was found in a major vein to her intestine. This required transplant surgery.
According to the Intestinal Transplant Association, transplant surgeries like the ones Al Ansari underwent are rare- just over 600 of them have been recorded since 2011. Medical experts also emphasized that Al Ansari’s pregnancy made her case even more unique. “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,” stated Dr. Thomas Fishbein, the Executive Director at the Georgetown Transplant Institute.
Because of her complicated medical history, Al Ansari’s pregnancy was considered high-risk. She was closely monitored by multiple transplant doctors and obstetricians in Miami. Medical experts initially prepared her for the possibility of an infection, but that was not a problem that she experienced. The Associated Press reported that Al Ansari faced minor complications including the flu, bleeding, and discomfort.
Al Ansari’s husband told reporters through an interpreter that “We wanted to say that this was a very hard decision. But we wanted to give hope to other people who have transplants and give them a chance, too.” Dr. Shalih Y. Yasin, who was Al Ansari’s obstetrician, told the Associated Press that someone who has had a five-organ transplant and is healthy enough to even think about having a baby “is a miracle by itself.”