A woman gave birth to a healthy baby on Tuesday, after doctors had successfully restored her fertility following chemotherapy, using transplanted ovarian tissue that doctors had removed and frozen when she was nine years old. Moaza Al Matrooshi, now 24, delivered a healthy baby boy at the Portland hospital in London. Doctors hoped the success of the procedure would offer hope to other women planning to restore their fertility after treatments for cancer and other issues.
At the age of 9, Al Matrooshi, needed chemotherapy to treat an inherited blood disorder called thalassaemia, which can be fatal if not treated. The chemotherapy was known to have a risk of damaging the ovaries, so doctors removed her right ovary, which were frozen and stored in Leeds, England. She then underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in London, after which doctors in Denmark transplanted ovarian tissue from the frozen ovary onto her non-functional left ovary, and onto the sides of her uterus. Following these procedures, Al Matrooshi’s periods and hormones returned to normal. Doctors performed an IVF procedure with her husband Ahmed, and implanted two embryos into her womb, earlier in 2016.
Al Matrooshi, speaking to the BBC, said “It’s like a miracle. We’ve been waiting so long for this result: a healthy baby.”
While doctors have successfully restored fertility in about 60 women using frozen ovarian tissue since 2001, Al Matrooshi is likely the first who had her ovarian tissue frozen before she had reached puberty.
In Edinburgh, a 33-year woman became the first in Britain to give birth with ovarian tissue that had been frozen and transplanted back last July. Doctors in Edinburgh are also starting a service to store testicular tissue from boys who are at risk of losing fertility as a result of cancer treatments, including from boys as young as one year old.
According to Helen Picton, the doctor who oversaw the tissue freezing procedure at Leeds University, several thousand women and young girls in Europe have had their ovarian tissue frozen and stored in such a procedure. Most often, this is due to risks of infertility as a result of medical treatment for other conditions such as cancer.
Sara Matthews, who is a consultant gynecologist at Portland Hospital where Al Matrooshi gave birth, the patient’s fertility recovered remarkably. She said that within three months after the treatment, Al Matrooshi went from a menopausal state to having the normal ovary function expected of a woman in her 20s.