First birth following a transplant of frozen ovarian tissue

The first case of a live birth after a successful transplant of ovarian fragments taken from a patient and then conserved frozen has just been announced by Belgian gynaecologists in an article published in the British medical journal The Lancet. The tissues, taken before the patient started anti-cancer chemotherapy, were cryogenically preserved over a period of 7 years and then transplanted into the pelvic cavity of the mother, who successfully gave birth on September 23, 2004, to a very healthy baby daughter. Often chemotherapy and radiotherapy can alter fertility. Men can freeze their sperm before undertaking such treatment, but freezing oocytes in women requires hormonal treatments which are often incompatible with cancer and require techniques are less well-mastered. According to the main author, Professor Jacques Donnez, this result "opens up new prospects for young women with cancer who are confronted with early ovarian insufficiency", or early menopause, induced by the anti-cancer treatment. Thus, "cryopreservation should be an option that can be offered to young women in whom a cancer is diagnosed". The young woman had become infertile after her anti-cancer therapy but had normal menstrual cycles 5 months after the transplant and became pregnant through natural fertilization 11 months after the transplant.