Second baby after ovary transplant is a world first

Joy for woman after undergoing cancer treatment that usually destroys fertility

The proud mother shows off her children – as well she might. Stinne Holm Bergholdt, 32, never expected to have one baby, let alone two. "It is a miracle," she said yesterday.

She is the first woman in the world to have healthy babies in separate pregnancies after an ovarian transplant, following treatment for cancer which would otherwise have destroyed her fertility. According to her doctor, she could remain capable of producing babies into her seventies.

Nine children, including Mrs Bergholdt's two, have been born worldwide to women following the transplant of their own ovarian tissue that was frozen and later thawed. The success of Mrs Bergoldt's treatment increases the prospects of a family for the more than 18,000 women under the age of 44 who are diagnosed with cancer in Britain each year, three quarters of whom will be left infertile by treatment.

It will also revive speculation about the possibility that doctors may be able to reverse the menopause and allow women to extend their fertility into their sixties and beyond. Mrs Bergholdt, from Odense, Denmark, still has part of her ovary stored in liquid nitrogen available for transplant when she needs it. Professor Claus Andersen, her doctor, said it could be good for 40 years.

Diagnosed with a rare bone cancer when she was 27, Mrs Bergholdt was prescribed chemotherapy that would normally have destroyed her fertility. But before she began the cancer treatment in 2004, doctors removed part of her right ovary and froze it.

With the chemotherapy successfully completed, in December 2005 six thin strips of ovarian tissue were transplanted back on to what remained of her right ovary, which began to function again. She was given drugs to stimulate it and, with the help of IVF, she gave birth to her first daughter, Aviaja, in February 2007.

A year later she returned to the fertility clinic for a second attempt. However, a test revealed she was already pregnant having conceived naturally, and she gave birth to a healthy girl, Lucca, in September 2008. She said: "When I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was very happy and excited – but also very afraid and sceptical since I found it very hard to believe that my body was really working again. But eventually I started to believe that the pregnancy was really happening and began to enjoy every aspect of it.

"The second time it was a surprise to find out I was pregnant since we hadn't been working on it – we thought we'd need assistance like the first time. We had an appointment at the fertility outpatient clinic to talk about the possibility of a second baby, but it turned out that I was already pregnant, naturally. It was a very nice surprise to find out that my body was now functioning normally. It was indeed a miracle."

Andersen, who is professor of Human Reproductive Physiology at the University Hospital of Copenhagen, said: "This is the first time in the world that a woman has had two children from separate pregnancies as a result of transplanting frozen/thawed ovarian tissue. These results support cryopreservation of ovarian tissue as a valid method of fertility preservation and should encourage the development of this technique as a clinical procedure for girls and young women facing treatment that could damage their ovaries."

He added that the birth of Mrs Bergholdt's second child showed the transplanted ovarian strips had continued to work for more than four years. "It is an amazing fact that these ovarian strips have been working for so long and it provides information on how powerful this technique can be. She continues to have natural menstrual cycles and, at present, is using pregnancy-preventing measures to avoid becoming pregnant again."

Mrs Bergholdt, whose case is reported in the journal Human Reproduction, has seven more strips of tissue still frozen in liquid nitrogen and can return to have them transplanted if the existing strips stop working, Professor Andersen said. "As long as the tissue remains properly stored in liquid nitrogen, it could remain functional for as long as 40 years. However, we do not know this for certain at present."

For the present, Mrs Bergholdt is enjoying her two daughters and putting off thoughts about extending the family. "The girls are still so small and need a lot of attention, but maybe in a couple of years we might think about it again."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
arts + entsJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    English Teacher, Aylesford School

    Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

    EBD LSA required - Vale of Glamorgan

    £60 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...

    EBD Teacher - Food Technology Specialist

    £100 - £181 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The JobTo plan and deliver all ...

    Learning Support Assistant

    £50 - £60 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker