Woman Has Baby After Liver Transplant

Photo of Carolyn McPhaul
Carolyn McPhaul and her son Christian.

Liver Transplant Patient Celebrates Her 1st Mother’s Day as New Mom

Carolyn McPhaul never expected to have children – especially after she developed autoimmune hepatitis and underwent a liver transplant at University of Maryland Medical Center in July 2011. McPhaul was also in her early 40s, and in her words, “not a spring chicken.”

So she was surprised – yet delighted – when she discovered last year that she was pregnant with her first child at the age of 44. She was already two months’ pregnant when her gynecologist gave her the good news.

McPhaul, now 45, of Upper Marlboro, says that she was initially concerned that the medications she takes might harm her baby. She takes immunosuppressive drugs to prevent her body’s immune system from rejecting her donated liver.

But with careful monitoring by University of Maryland hepatologist Dr. Darryn Potosky and obstetrician Dr. Kristin Atkins, McPhaul gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Christian, in January 2014.

“Pregnancy is certainly achievable after liver transplantation in women of child-bearing age, although many women who have undergone liver transplantation are already post-menopausal,” says Dr. Potosky. “I monitored Carolyn with frequent blood tests and office visits. Her immunosuppressive regimen was modified to be safe for a developing fetus.” 

“During her early pregnancy, Carolyn developed abnormalities in her liver tests, which required a liver biopsy and alterations in her medical regimen due to recurrent autoimmune hepatitis,” Dr. Potosky says. “She required frequent titration of her medications to be sure that both her and her baby were safe.”

McPhaul is very happy that Christian is healthy and believes it is unlikely he will develop the autoimmune disease that attacked her liver.

"What a miracle he is. I am blessed. I just want to hug him and hold him,” says McPhaul, who celebrated her first Mother’s Day this year as a new mom. “It’s like I’m in the moms club, and I know how mothers feel. It’s joyful. I just love it,” she says.

Click here to watch McPhaul and baby Christian on WJLA-TV.

This page was last updated: October 27, 2014

         
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