For the first time in Germany, a woman has given birth to a child after removal and preservation of tissue from one of her ovaries. This course of action was necessary to avoid infertility owing to chemo- and radiotherapy. Andreas Müller and his colleagues report the case in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109[1-2]: 8-13).
The majority of young female patients who need radio- or chemotherapy for treatment of a tumor express concerns about fertility. The retransplantation of frozen (cryopreserved) ovarian tissue is an experimental technique for restoration of fertility that has led to 15 live births worldwide.
The woman in question was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003, at the age of 25. She was treated with chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy, but in 2005 the disease recurred and further treatment was required. To protect her fertility, ovarian tissue was removed via laparoscopy and cryopreserved. She was then treated with high-dose chemotherapy and remained free of disease for 5 years.
Because she still wanted to have a child, the preserved ovarian tissue was retransplanted into her right abdominal wall in 2010. After hormone treatment to stimulate follicular maturation and ovulation, she conceived by natural means. On 10 October 2011 she was delivered of a healthy child by cesarean section.
Dr. Wolfgang Distler
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International