Woman's ovarian tissue graft pregnancy a world first
A WOMAN who had her ovaries removed during cancer treatment a decade ago is pregnant after having eggs grown on her abdomen in a world-first procedure.
Doctors now believe the treatment offers new hope for women left infertile by cancer, with Brisbane mum-to-be Vali, 26 weeks pregnant with twin girls.
Before the removal of her second ovary at 27, doctors took tissue from one of her ovaries and froze it in the hope of a medical breakthrough.
That hope finally paid off when researchers from Melbourne IVF and Royal Women's Hospital began trials to graft ovarian tissue outside of the pelvis in the hope it would continue to produce eggs.
Vali and her partner Dean moved from Brisbane to Melbourne to have the two-and-a-half-year treatment.
The researchers harvested two eggs from the tissue which were successfully fertilised this year using IVF.
Doctors had previously only been able to transplant the tissue back into the original position, a procedure that has resulted in just 29 births worldwide.
Melbourne IVF fertility preservation head Kate Stern said Vali's pregnancy proved ovarian tissue could survive outside the pelvis.
"The tissue started to work after several months, then we did very, very gentle IVF treatment with hormone stimulation,'' Ms Stern said. "We only had two eggs - we were so thrilled to see we got two embryos from those eggs.''
"(We're) having two girls. I'm pretty excited,'' Vali said.
The procedure has been trialled on 10 patients in six years, with tissue producing eggs in all but one case.
Royal Women's Hospital head of ovarian tissue cryopreservation Debra Gook said the discovery opened the door for 300 women who had tissue stored at the hospital to have their own children.