Historic Organ Donation Enables Langhorne Mother of Two Help Montana Woman Become the Mother of One

Cheryl Cichonski-Urban, Langhorne, donated her uterus to fulfill the maternal goals of Chelsea Jovanovich of Montana.
Image via Cheryl Cichonski-Urban at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Cheryl Cichonski-Urban (l), Langhorne, donated her uterus to fulfill the maternal goals of Chelsea Jovanovich of Montana.

Cheryl Cichonski-Urban, of Langhorne, gave a priceless gift — her own uterus — to Chelsea Jovanovich. The historic organ donation was Penn Medicine’s first living-donor uterus transplant. But it also drew two women together in maternally grounded friendship, as Sarah Gantz reported for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cichonski-Urban saw television coverage of Penn Medicine’s uterine transplant program. Its utter selflessness compelled her, as both a mother herself and someone who seriously considered a nursing career.

She agreed to donate her womb.

Her recipient was Chelsea Jovanovich of Montana.

She was born without a uterus but held out hope that medical science could someday address her desire for motherhood.

“I went my whole life thinking I wasn’t going to be able to have a baby,” Jovanovich said.

After the 12- to 13-hour procedure in Philadelphia, the possibility of pregnancy transferred from donor to patient.

Given the distance from home and the pandemic, Jovanovich and her husband were alone through a lengthy post-op healing period and the gestational wait that followed.

During those months, the procedural no-contact period between live donors and their organ recipients passed. Chicinski-Urban and Jovanovich could meet.

Cichonski-Urban said when she “saw the bump … that’s when it really hit me. We just hugged each other and cried.”

Jovanovich’s son was born a week later.

More on this historic, heartfelt connection and organ donation at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.