Childbirth is truly one of the most incredible aspects of life for women. Becoming a parent always changes a person, and many see having kids as an important milestone. For those individuals who are unable to have children, watching their friends and siblings start families of their own can be quite a distressing ordeal.
At the age of 15, Malin Stenberg was told that she’d never become a parent—she had been born without a womb.
The news was devastating to Stenberg, who then devoted her life to trying to find ways to cope with her infertility.
“I wasn’t ready to hear it, I couldn’t take it in,” Stenberg told the Daily Mail. “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.”
As Stenberg got older she tried to move on with her life. She became a broker for an aviation company, and tried hard to find comfort in her work. However, the lingering fact that she’d never have kids was always a point of grief for Stenberg.
“If you wish for a family and you are unable to have one naturally, for whatever reason, it is so sad,” Stenberg explained.
At the age of 30, Stenberg met Claes Nilsson and later they became engaged. Stenberg was open with Nilsson about her infertility and the two decided to look into adoption or surrogacy.
Then they heard about womb transplant procedures going on at Gothenburg University.
The couple had some concerns, but decided that Stenberg should give it a try.
Eight other women were in the program, and all were reminded that the procedure was extremely experimental and far from a guaranteed success. While the other women received wombs from their mothers, Stenberg got hers from a 61-year-old family friend, Ewa Rosen.
The procedure for Stenberg was a success, and following the surgery she underwent an in vitro fertilization treatment. After the first try, Stenberg became pregnant.
Stenberg’s pregnancy was said to be one where the couple “walked on eggshells.”
Eventually, however, Stenberg finally gave birth to a son, Vincent, who was born prematurely. She was the first woman in the world to successfully have a baby after having a womb transplant.
Vincent was born in September 2014. Stenberg and Nilsson were ecstatic by their son’s arrival, and together they decided to honor Rosen and her donated uterus by naming her as Vincent’s godmother, a title that she is proud to carry.
“Total happiness comes from having a family and it doesn’t matter if it is through a womb transplant, or adoption or something else. It is magical,” Stenberg said.
While further children aren’t on the cards for the couple, as Stenberg had to have her new uterus removed due to potential future pregnancy complications, for now she is spending her time just enjoying being a mother to the child she never thought she’d have