Frozen, re-implanted ovary produces healthy baby girl

September 24, 2004|By Thomas H. Maugh II | Thomas H. Maugh II,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Belgian physicians have for the first time produced a healthy infant conceived using ovarian tissue that had been frozen to protect it from the lethal effects of chemotherapy.

After the tissue was re-implanted, the patient conceived naturally and Tamara Touirat, 8 pounds, 4 ounces, was born yesterday at St. Luke's Hospital in Brussels - seven years after her mother began chemotherapy.

The report, published online today by the journal Lancet, gives hope to hundreds of thousands of women who in the past would have lost their chance for babies because cancer treatment rendered them infertile, but it might be years before the technique can be used routinely.

"This is something that we have been talking about for a long time ... and it has been tried a lot," said Dr. Alan DeCherney, a reproductive specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and editor of the journal Fertility and Sterility. "This is just one case, but as the technology gets better, more and more people will have this done. It does have a future."

Experts also cautioned that there was a small possibility this pregnancy resulted from some ovarian tissue that was not destroyed by the chemotherapy.

"We can't say absolutely that the pregnancy was from the transplanted tissue," said Dr. Zev Rosenwaks of the Weill Medical College at Cornell University. "Women can occasionally regain reproductive function [after chemotherapy]."

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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