32-year-old woman has given birth to a healthy baby 7 years after banking her ovarian tissue before starting chemotherapy

A 32-year-old Belgian woman has given birth to a healthy baby 7 years after banking her ovarian tissue before starting chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Although she became infertile as a result of the chemotherapy, re-implantation of her ovarian tissue re-started ovulation 5 months later; she became pregnant 11 months after re-transplantation by natural fertilization. Details of the procedure appear in a research article published online by THE LANCET.

The mother gave birth to a healthy baby girl weighing 3·72 kg delivered at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium, at 1905 H local time on Thursday 23 September 2004.

This is the first case of a human livebirth after success of a process called orthotopic autotransplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue, in a patient from whom tissue was collected and cryopreserved (frozen) before chemotherapy was initiated.

Earlier this year (9 March 2004) THE LANCET reported how US investigators had done a similar procedure in a 30-year-old woman who became infertile after chemotherapy for breast cancer; however this earlier report involved in-vitro fertilization and re-implantation of a 4-cell embryo which did not result in pregnancy.

Lead investigator Jacques Donnez (Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium) comments: "Our findings open new perspectives for young cancer patients facing premature ovarian failure. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation should be an option offered to all young women diagnosed with cancer, in conjunction with other existing options for fertility preservation, such as immature oocyte retrieval, in-vitro maturation of oocytes, oocyte vitrification, or embryo cryopreservation."

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