Woman Has Baby Using Frozen Ovarian Tissue from Childhood

By Fwfu at en.wikibooks [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

In what medical researchers are hailing as an amazing breakthrough, a 27-year old female has given birth to a healthy baby using ovarian tissue that was surgically removed and frozen when she was in her childhood.

How does it Work?

Although the procedure has been used in adult women, it was not clear if freezing childhood ovarian tissue could be used to restore fertility in adulthood.

Researchers have said the procedure could be a stunning advancement for the preservation of young woman’s future fertility. This means young girls who develop a disease and require treatments that can damage or stop ovarian function, now have hope for being able to bear children in the future.
Lead researcher Dr. Isabella Demeestere, a gynecologist and research associate at the Fertility Clinic and Research Laboratory on Human Reproduction in Brussels, Belgium states, “This is a message of hope for all the children with high risk of premature ovarian failure to improve their future quality of life.”

Dr. Avner Hershlag, the chief of the Center for Human Reproduction at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., said of the announcement it’s “an exciting event and a landmark achievement in fertility preservation for women at risk of losing the potential to get pregnant. However, Dr. Hershlag was not involved in the research study.

Dr. Hershlag went on to say, “We have already been able to preserve fertility in young women diagnosed with cancer and other severe medical illnesses where treatment threatens reproductive potential.” He further added that young women who have a partner or spouse could freeze embryos and single females as young as 14 years old could also freeze their eggs.
However, it’s important to remember that children and teens who have not gone through puberty cannot freeze their eggs, and therefore ovarian tissue freezing offers new hope and a viable alternative.
He also said, “This is a natural extension of science that has already been developed to optimize freezing techniques of eggs, embryos and ovarian tissue. The ovarian tissue may remain frozen for many years, thus giving children who have survived cancer and other serious illnesses, and allow them as adults to have a family.”
The Study
The findings of the study were published in the June 10th, 2015 issue of Human Reproduction.
A woman was born in the Republic of Congo, she was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia when she was a young child. When she was 11, she immigrated to Belgium and received a bone marrow transplant to treat the disease. Part of the transplant procedure involved receiving chemotherapy which disabled the immune system. In an attempt to preserve her future fertility, her doctors took out her right ovary and froze tissue fragments.

The bone marrow transplant was a success, but her left ovary shut down. When she wanted to bear a child a decade later, doctors thawed out the tissue from her right ovary and implanted it into her body.
The transplanted tissue responded positively to her hormones and she began to menstruate. In 2014, when the woman was 27 she gave birth to a healthy, full term baby boy.

In Conclusion

Further research is needed in order to find out more about the benefits of freezing ovarian tissue in fertility threatened females. It’s not yet clear how the procedure would work in females who have not gone through puberty yet, but researchers remain hopeful.


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