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First frozen ovary tissue birth

25 September 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 277

The first woman in the world to become pregnant following a transplant of her own frozen, thawed ovarian tissue has given birth to a healthy baby girl. In 1997, Ouarda Touirat, now aged 32, had parts of her ovaries removed before beginning treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma that would leave her infertile. In 2003, once she was free of the cancer, Belgian doctors reimplanted some of this tissue close to Ouarda's remaining ovaries. News of the pregnancy first emerged at the annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) meeting, held in Berlin earlier this year. The baby, called Tamara, was delivered at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels on 23 September.

Scientists have been working for many years to achieve a pregnancy using stored ovarian tissue. Previous attempts, including those made by Claus Yding Anderson and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, involved the removal of eggs from the transplanted tissue, followed by IVF. At the ESHRE meeting, Anderson reported that he had succeeded in creating a two-celled embryo, but it had failed to implant when transferred back to the woman's womb. In October 2003, the first primate birth following transfer of frozen-thawed ovarian tissue - a rhesus macaque monkey - was announced. At the time it was hoped that the technique would soon lead to a human birth.

The Belgian team replaced the frozen-thawed ovarian tissue close to the remaining, non-functioning ovaries, in the hope of restoring Ouadra's natural fertility. Five months after the transplant, the ovary tissue appeared to be producing hormones, and over the next four months Ouadra ovulated regularly. Eleven months after the transplant operation, a pregnancy test confirmed that Ouarda had conceived naturally. Team leader Jacques Donnez said: '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'. The Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc doctors say they have frozen ovarian tissue from another 146 cancer patients, and have so far reimplanted tissue in two of them.

News of the birth appeared in an online Lancet article, ahead of print publication. In it, the scientists write that they believe the egg which gave rise to the pregnancy came from the transplanted tissue, and not from the remaining damaged ovaries. But US fertility expert Kutluk Otkay questions the claim, reports Nature News, saying that he believes the pregnancy could have resulted if one of the woman's ovaries survived the chemotherapy and produced eggs on its own. However, other scientists welcomed the news: 'I've always believed that this procedure would work in patients,' said reproductive biologist Roger Gosden of the Weill Medical College at Cornell University, adding, 'It was a matter of time until somebody was successful in bringing a full-term baby...this really vindicates 10 years of work in this field'.

Baby for ovary transplant woman
BBC News Online |  24 September 2004
First Infant Born as Result of Ovarian Tissue Transplant; Success Raises Childbearing Hopes for Cancer Patients
Kaiser Network |  24 September 2004
Infertile woman gives birth after ovary transplant
The Daily Telegraph |  24 September 2004
Livebirth after orthotopic transplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue
The Lancet |  24 September 2004
Ovarian transplant produces baby
Nature News |  24 September 2004
17 November 2008 - by Adam Fletcher 
A 39-year old woman has become the first to give birth following a whole ovary transplant. Susanne Butscher received an intact ovary from her fertile twin sister last year, during a landmark operation carried out by Dr Sherman Silber of the Infertility Centre of St Louis...
6 January 2006 - by BioNews 
New European rules on the use and storage of human tissue could deny young British women undergoing cancer treatment the chance to preserve their fertility, according to a report in the Times newspaper. The requirements of the new EU Tissues and Cells Directive make it prohibitively expensive for many centres...
3 October 2005 - by BioNews 
A US woman who became infertile after cancer treatment has stunned doctors by becoming pregnant naturally, following a transplant of ovarian tissue into her abdomen. Ann Dauer, from Canton, Ohio has now given birth to a healthy baby girl, named Sienna. Mrs Dauer had one of her ovaries removed and...
15 September 2005 - by BioNews 
Israeli scientists have obtained early sheep embryos after transplanting whole ovaries that had been frozen and thawed. The researchers, based at the Institute of Animal Science, Agriculture Research Organisation, Bet Dagan, report that the ovaries were still working normally three years after the transplant. They say their findings, published in...
1 July 2005 - by BioNews 
An Israeli woman has given birth to a healthy baby girl after undergoing an ovarian tissue transplant, following cancer treatment that left her infertile. The 28-year-old woman, treated at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, is only the second patient in the world to have given birth after...
27 September 2004 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
This week, BioNews reports on the world's first baby born following a transplant of frozen, thawed ovary tissue. This is the first success for a technique that promises to benefit thousands of women who would otherwise lose their fertility forever. Ouarda Touriat, who underwent lifesaving cancer treatment that left her...
29 June 2004 - by BioNews 
BioNews reporting from the ESHRE conference, Berlin: Danish researchers have reported that they are on the verge of producing a pregnancy from frozen-thawed human ovarian tissue, while in Belgium it transpires that a woman is already 25 weeks pregnant following similar treatment - the first time this treatment has ever led...
11 March 2004 - by BioNews 
Scientists in the US have become the first to produce a viable human embryo using an egg collected from ovarian tissue that had been kept in frozen storage. Dr Kutluk Oktay and colleagues from Cornell University Weill Medical College published their research in the early online version of The Lancet...
13 October 2003 - by BioNews 
US scientists have carried out the world's first successful ovary tissue transplant in a primate, and have used one of the resulting eggs to produce a healthy IVF baby monkey. Team leader David Lee, of Oregon University, said it was the first time transplanted ovarian tissue had been used to...
1 October 2001 - by BioNews 
A team of scientists from Leeds and Manchester have shown that ovarian transplants may be successful in preserving the fertility of women who have recovered from cancer. Previously, these women faced becoming infertile because cancer treatments using drugs or radiation could damage their ovaries. The team, led by Dr Samuel...
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