39 year old, Juliana Finondo from Argentina is the first ever heart transplant patient to give birth using IVF despite doctor’s warnings. After having heart transplant, she turned to IVF treatment and gave birth to her wonderful daughter, a world premiere.
Juliana Finondo is from Buenos Aires and had a successful heart transplant in 1999, but, childless at the time, she wanted to become a mother. And, with the help of staff at the high risk pregnancy centre in Buenos Aires, she gave birth to baby Emilia earlier this month.
The head of the Buenos Aires high-risk pregnancy centre, Gustavo Leguizamon, said: 'There is no record in the world of a transplant patient who has achieved pregnancy through in vitro fertilization.' The doctor emphasized that this could lead to not enough blood getting to the uterus, causing the baby to grow less and a premature birth was also a possible risk.
Drugs which help avoid new organs being rejected by transplant patients have unknown effects on the unborn child and it can also make pregnancy difficult.
Medication needed to perform IVF can cause further complications, according to Ricardo James, a reproductive specialist at the centre.
The health risks did not discourage graphic designer Juliana Finondo, who was determined to have a child with her husband, Gerardo Tuya. She said 'I was never afraid. Maybe I'm too optimistic.'
IVF fertility drugs can cause complications for transplant patients hoping to get pregnant, medical experts say
Finondo decided to try to get pregnant in 2009, yet by 2011, she still had no success in conceiving naturally.
After a medical examination, she showed no signs of rejecting her heart, doctors weaned her off transplant medication, so she could use fertility drugs needed for IVF and got pregnant on her first round of IVF. After nine months of monitoring, she gave birth to her healthy daughter on January 15.
Dr. Sergio Perrone, Ms Finondo's cardiologist, said: 'Today a transplant patient has an excellent quality of life, much better than people realize.'
Dr. Sergio Perrone hopes the story will 'encourage people to consider organ donation, 'because it saves one life, which can be multiplied by so many more.'