Ovary transplant woman has baby

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A woman has become the first in the world to give birth to a live baby following an ovarian transplant in a breakthrough that could allow doctors to reverse the menopause and restore fertility to women in middle age.

A woman has become the first in the world to give birth to a live baby following an ovarian transplant in a breakthrough that could allow doctors to reverse the menopause and restore fertility to women in middle age.

The 32-year-old Belgian woman, who was left infertile after chemotherapy for cancer, had a healthy baby girl weighing 3.7kg (8lb) delivered at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels last night.

The announcement was made in the online version of The Lancet medical journal, which also published a paper on the case. The woman was named by the clinic last night as Ouarda Touirat.

The birth offers hope to thousands of women with cancer who will be able to preserve their fertility by banking their ovarian tissue before starting treatment. More than 18,000 women under the age of 44 are diagnosed with cancer in Britain each year and treatment will leave 75 per cent of them infertile.

Professor Jacques Donnez of the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, who led the medical team, said: "Our findings open new perspectives for young cancer patients facing premature ovarian failure. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation should be an option offered to all young women diagnosed with cancer." But the development also raises ethical questions as it brings the possibility of women extending their reproductive lives into their fifties and sixties and beyond.

Scientists have spent 15 years trying to transplant human ovaries and restore fertility to women who have suffered an early menopause.

Ms Touirat was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997. Before she began treatment, doctors removed a thin outer layer of her ovaries in which most of her eggs were stored and kept it in frozen storage.

In February last year after she was free of cancer, the ovarian tissue was thawed and reimplanted close to her ovary. Five months later her menstrual cycle was restored and in January she became pregnant after conceiving naturally.

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