Baby born from ovary frozen in childhood
The first woman to have an ovary frozen before the onset of puberty has given birth to a baby boy.
Moaza Al Matrooshi, now 24, had her ovarian tissue frozen when she was a young child by Professor Helen Picton, Head of the Division of Reproduction and Early Development at the University of Leeds.
Moaza then worked with her consultant gynaecologist at The Portland hospital to have her preserved tissue successfully replanted earlier this year.
“This is a huge breakthrough in the field of fertility preservation.”
PROFESSOR HELEN PICTON
Professor Picton, from the School of Medicine, continued: “It is the first time that the success of the procedure has been shown in a pre-pubertal girl, and I’m delighted that this young woman has had her baby.”
As a nine year old child, Moaza had her right ovary removed and the tissue from it frozen before she underwent chemotherapy treatment.
She suffered from a severe blood disorder, beta thalassaemia, and needed the chemotherapy in preparation for a bone marrow transplantation to treat the disorder.
The chemotherapy treatment was likely to leave her infertile.
The other ovary was left in her body but the toxic impact of the chemotherapy drugs on her remaining ovary meant she had started going through the menopause in her early twenties.
Having recently married and being keen to start a family with her husband, in 2015 she underwent transplantation of some of her stored ovarian tissue to restore her fertility.
Following her transplant her hormone levels began returning to normal, she began ovulating and her fertility was restored.
Ovarian tissue freezing
Researchers at the University of Leeds have been at the forefront of ovarian tissue freezing.
In 1999 scientists here were instrumental in performing the world's first transplant of frozen ovarian tissue.
In an interview with the BBC, Professor Picton said: “Moaza is a pioneer and was one of the first patients we helped back in 2001, before any baby had been born from ovary tissue preservation.
“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 and the first from a patient who had treatment for beta thalassaemia.”
As reported by the BBC, the technique involves taking tiny slivers of tissue containing primordial follicles, which are then mixed with cryoprotective agents, slowly reduced in temperature to -196 C and stored under liquid nitrogen.
The operation to remove Moaza’s ovarian tissue took place in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.