BRUSSELS – A woman has given birth after surgeons implanted ovarian tissue that had been removed when she was a child. It is the world’s first case in which a woman has given birth after her fertility restored.
She was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but had moved to Belgium by the age of 11, where she underwent the operation.
The 28-year-old underwent surgery to remove the ovary when she was just 13, before starting chemotherapy which had been likely to destroy her chances of ever having children.
The young woman, who has not been named, was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia at the age of five. By the age of 13, her condition had become so severe that doctors in Brussels decided that a bone marrow transplant was required.
Several babies have been born from tissue taken from adult women, but this is the first success with tissue removed before puberty.
A decade later, after the young woman said she wished to become a mother, doctors led by Dr Isabelle Demeestere, a gynaecologist at Erasme Hospital in Brussels, began attempts to restore her fertility.
They attached four ovarian fragments to the remaining left ovary and 11 fragments at other sites.
The patient started menstruating regularly five months later but then hopes were dashed by another problem.
Her partner turned out to be infertile, the couple tried unsuccessfully for an in-vitro pregnancy, and then their relationship failed.
More than two years after the transplantation, the woman became pregnant naturally with a new partner at the age of 27. The newborn baby boy, weighed 3.1 kilogrammes (6.8 pounds).
The gynaecologist and research associate said: “This is very exciting for us and even more so for the young woman. She had a long and stressful medical history and this was the only way possible for her to have a family; now she is very happy and enjoying life with her baby boy.”
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