Giving birth is a monumental moment in any mother’s life. It doesn’t matter that 251 babies are born every minute because your own bundle of joy is the only one that matters.
Except, for Malin Stenberg, motherhood truly was a unique experience. Stenberg and her partner Claes Nilsson, both from Sweden, were part of a pioneering project which saw their baby, Vincent, be born against the odds.
Almost a year ago, Stenberg made some sort of history by giving birth after womb transplant. The baby boy was aptly named Vincent which meant “conquer.” The birth of Vincent was very encouraging for medical professionals as they saw new hope in the advancement. Doctors are now attempting to help as many people they actually can.
The 37-year-old mother, who suffers from Rokitansky syndrome, had given up hope of ever becoming a mother after she was told it was impossible for her to conceive. Stenberg was 15 years old when she was told that she didn’t have a womb, crushing her juvenile dreams of motherhood.
“I wasn’t ready to hear it, I couldn’t take it in. I thought that this means that I’ll never be able to carry a child of my own – but that is what women are made for. It felt so unfair. I loved kids and babies and I wanted to know what I had done to deserve this. I felt so alone.”
Womb transplants have been attempted before but all had failed, until Vincent was born. As she watched the youngster play with a toy golf set in their home near Gothenburg in Sweden, Ms Stenberg described her devastation at being told as a teenager that she suffered from MRKH syndrome, a rare genetic condition which meant she was born without a womb.
‘I wasn’t ready to hear it, I couldn’t take it in,’ she said. ‘I thought that this means that I’ll never be able to carry a child of my own – but that is what women are made for. It felt so unfair. I loved kids and babies and I wanted to know what I had done to deserve this. I felt so alone,’ she added.
Eventually, she resigned herself to a life without children and threw herself into her career as a broker in the aviation industry.
Now celebrating his first birthday, Vincent is a vision of health and happiness.
The tiny tot, with his thin wisp of blond hair and cheeky smile, is proof that there is still hope for those who cannot conceive. “Today it feels like we went from nothing at all to having this wonderful boy,” Stenberg said. “It’s more than 100 percent. We are more than happy with this. I couldn’t wish for more.”
Since Vincent, whose name is derived from the Latin ‘to conquer’, was born there have been several further successes. Four more babies – three boys and one girl – have been born via the same method, bringing hope to parent’s afflicted by pregnancy difficulties across the world.
Since the success of the project, other countries around the world have begun to commence with their own versions.
Despite their elation at becoming parents, Stenberg and Nilsson do not plan to have another child. In fact, Stenberg has had her donated womb removed for fears that a second pregnancy could be too dangerous for mother and baby.