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Kidney transplant recipient becomes first to give birth post-transplant at Phoenix hospital

A Sedona mom who recently had a kidney transplant is the first to give birth just months after...
A Sedona mom who recently had a kidney transplant is the first to give birth just months after transplant surgery.(The Retegan Family)
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 6:03 PM MST
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SEDONA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Sedona mother is St Joseph’s Hospital’s first kidney transplant recipient to give birth post-transplant. Now, she’s taking her new baby Ava home after spending 5 weeks in the NICU--just in time for Mother’s Day.

“I’m beyond words that she’s home for Mother’s Day. It’s great,” said Retegan. It’s a hallmark ending to a health journey for Rachel Retegan, whose kidneys started to fail more than a decade ago after years of dialysis. She received a transplant because she knew that was the only way she could carry her husband Zach’s child. “It just seemed scary and intimidating, until I was able to join other groups on Facebook of other transplant women who are mothers and have been through pregnancy,” said Retegan.

Just two years after receiving the gift of life through a new kidney, she found out she was going to be giving the gift of life to her baby Ava. “Just with her being home, it makes everything else feel like a blip in the wind, you know,” said Retegan. Other post-transplant women haven’t always been successful, according to Retegan’s transplant coordinator Gabriel Quiroz. “The luck was absolutely there, but Rachel from day one has been an amazing patient, followed medications to a ‘T’, [and went to] necessary follow-ups,” said Quiroz.

As for Retegan, she said she’s excited to finally bring her baby home and serve as an inspiration for other post-transplant women. “It’s super exciting because I feel like I can bring hope and joy to other women hoping to start a family,” she said.

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