Woman gives birth to first baby using ovarian tissue frozen pre-puberty

Dec 14, 2016 at 2:22 p.m. ET
Image: Mayte Torres/Getty Images

Yesterday, a 24-year-old woman in London gave birth to a healthy baby after having her fertility restored using frozen ovarian tissue removed before she went through puberty.

This is thought to be the first baby in the world born using pre-puberty ovarian tissue.

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The mother — Moaza Al Matrooshi — had an inherited blood disorder as a child that required chemotherapy. Because chemotherapy can damage ovaries, doctors removed and then froze her right ovary when she was 9 years old — her mother’s idea. The ovarian tissue sat in a freezer in Leeds, U.K., until last year, when Danish surgeons transplanted slivers of the tissue back into her body. At that point, she was going through menopause, but her hormonal levels returned to normal after the transplant, and within three months, she began ovulating.

To avoid any other potential complications, Al Matrooshi underwent IVF in order to get pregnant.

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"Worldwide more than 60 babies have been born from women who had their fertility restored, but Moaza is the first case from pre-pubertal freezing," professor Helen Picton, who leads the division of reproduction and early development at the University of Leeds and carried out the ovary freezing, told the BBC.

In 2004 a Belgian woman gave birth to the first baby following the transplantation of her own ovarian tissue. However, unlike Al Matrooshi, she was 13 years old at the time the ovarian tissue was removed and had already started going through puberty.

Al Matrooshi still has one embryo and two pieces of ovarian tissue in storage and plans to have another baby in the future.

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"I always believed that I would be a mum and that I would have a baby,” she told the BBC. "I didn't stop hoping and now I have this baby — it is a perfect feeling."

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