A woman who is desperate to have a baby is pinning all her hopes on a procedure that’s never been done before. Moaza Alnatrooshi had her ovary removed and frozen as a child and has now had the organ implanted back into her body in the hope of being able to conceive.
If the transplant is a success and Alnatrooshi becomes pregnant she will be the first woman in the world to conceive using an ovary frozen before puberty and then transplanted back into the body.
Alnatrooshi, 23, who is from Dubai and lives in London, was diagnosed with a blood disorder called beta thalassaemia when she was a child. Because the chemotherapy she was having to treat the illness can cause damage to the ovaries her doctors decided — when she was only 8 years old — to remove and freeze one of her ovaries.
She told The Sunday Times that she “cannot wait” to be pregnant.
Last year Alnatrooshi’s frozen ovary was sent from London to Denmark, where it was transplanted back into her body. Since then Alnatrooshi and her husband have had IVF treatment. Eight eggs were collected and three embryos have been produced. One of the embryos is expected to be implanted in April, with doctors confident Alnatrooshi will become pregnant because of her age.
Her gynaecologist, Dr. Sara Matthews from London’s Portland Hospital for Women and Children, said the treatment was an enormous step forward for young girls who develop cancer or other conditions that require chemotherapy, by giving them the chance to one day have their own children.
In November 2014 a 27-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy in Belgium after undergoing an ovarian tissue transplant. Her ovary had originally been removed and frozen during puberty. She was said to be “overjoyed” after suffering years of anxiety about her fertility since undergoing chemotherapy at the age of 13.
Professor Geeta Nargund, medical director of Create Fertility, told The Huffington Post UK: “If this is successful, it would be a breakthrough to help pre-pubertal girls diagnosed with cancer to preserve their fertility. Ovarian freezing and transplantation is still an experimental technique and we need further large studies.
“Women in reproductive years diagnosed with cancer can freeze their eggs or embryos prior to cancer treatment to preserve their fertility,” she continued. “This is available on [the] NHS and has proven successful. However, for pre-pubertal girls who are unable to freeze eggs, ovarian tissue freezing can be the only option to preserve their future fertility.”