British Fertility Society reaction to Human Reproduction study reporting first live birth after transplantation of ovarian tissue removed and frozen during childhood

Professor Adam Balen, Chairman of the British Fertility Society said:
“This is a very important first report of a healthy baby being born as a result of the re-implantation of ovarian tissue that was removed from an 13 year old girl and frozen for ten years or so until she became an adult and wanted to start a family.”

“The ovarian tissue was removed before she had started having her periods and so before she had started ovulating naturally. She required chemotherapy prior to having a bone marrow transplant (known as haemopietic stem cell transplant) which was needed to cure her from sickle cell anaemia, which is a very debilitating condition.”

“Chemotherapy can affect the ovaries and lead to an early menopause, which was the case here. Chemotherapy is also used to treat certain cancers and so the option of freezing ovarian tissue gives the opportunity to preserve fertility for later. This procedure has been carried out many times now in adults and several pregnancies have been reported worldwide. There had previously been uncertainty as to whether ovarian tissue taken from young girls would later on be competent to produce mature, fertile eggs, so today’s case is both reassuring and exciting.”

“We have to remember that many children who require chemotherapy are very ill and the surgery to remove ovarian tissue is no small undertaking. Furthermore there are only a few centres where the technology is available and this sort of treatment achievable. In years to come it will no doubt become more routine.”

“I would like to congratulate the team in Brussels.”