Monday, March 29, 2010

Second baby for former cancer patient after tissue transplant

A former cancer patient has made medical history by giving birth to two daughters after her fertility was restored with ovarian tissue that had been frozen.

Stinne Bergholdt, a doctor from Odense, Denmark, is the first woman in the world to give birth twice after undergoing the procedure, though seven others have had one child.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, doctors said that the birth of Dr Bergholdt’s second child, Lucca, demonstrated the long-term success of the procedure.

Dr Bergholdt, now 32, was given a diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that mainly affects the bones, in 2004. Before starting chemotherapy, which would have left her sterile, part of her right ovary was removed and frozen. In December 2005, after successful treatment, six strips of frozen ovarian tissue were thawed and transplanted on to what remained of her right ovary.

After mild ovarian stimulation she became pregnant and gave birth to her first daughter, Aviaja, in February 2007.

The following year Dr Bergholdt returned to the clinic where the transplant took place for in vitro fertilisation for a second baby. The treatment was not necessary, however — a test revealed that she had conceived again naturally.

Professor Claus Yding Andersen, from the University Hospital of Copenhagen, who has pioneered the technique and treated Dr Bergholdt, said: “As long as the tissue remains properly stored in liquid nitrogen, it could remain functional for 40 years.”

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