Scientists Use Ovary Frozen in Childhood to Help Woman Give Birth

By James O Malley on at

A woman in Belgium has successfully given birth following the transplant of an ovary that was frozen when she was just a kid.

The unnamed woman suffered from Sickle Cell Anaemia since she was five years old, which led to one ovary being removed and frozen when she was 13, before she began treatment. According to the BBC, which reported the story, her remaining ovary failed when she was 15, after a combination of both a bone marrow transplant and the chemotherapy that was needed to make the transplant work. This meant that it looked like she would no longer be able to have children.

Fast forward 10 years and doctors successfully managed to graft four parts of the (thawed out!) ovary onto both the one that remained inside of her, and 11 other locations on her body. Apparently as a result the patient started menstruating and became naturally pregnant aged 27, with her new son having been born recently. Astonishing.

The BBC quotes Dr Adam Balen, chair of the British Fertility Society, as saying that "one would anticipate that young ovaries should have lots of eggs in them, the concern was whether those eggs might develop to maturity, if the ovarian tissue was taken at such a young age and frozen and then re-implanted. So, this is proof of that concept... it's very important information."

The success of the procedure suggests there could be new hope for people who have experienced similar diseases in childhood, yet who will still want kids later in life.

Good work, science. [BBC]

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