Mother's 'little miracle' after ovary transplant

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The Independent Online

A woman who gave birth after receiving the world's first whole ovary transplant has described her newborn baby daughter as "a little miracle".

Susanne Butscher, 39, originally from Hamburg but living in London with her husband Stephan, was given the ovary by her twin sister Dorothee a year ago after she suffered an early menopause. Doctors advised her to have the transplant, partly because it would halt the early onset of osteoporosis.

She named her daughter Maja after the Roman goddess of fertility and hopes her story will offer hope to other women in her situation.

"Being a mother at last is an indescribable feeling. It has been hard to take my eyes off her since she was born," she told The Daily Telegraph. "I am so lucky to have had this wonderful opportunity, which has given me a sense of completeness I would never have had otherwise.

"Being the first woman in the world to give birth after a whole ovary transplant hasn't sunk in yet but I'm just so grateful to the doctors who enabled this to happen and to my sister, of course. I'm happy to be sharing my story with the world to give other women hope who might have similar problems."

After the operation, she began to ovulate naturally for the first time in her life and, when she missed her period, she feared the transplant had failed.

"It was a little bit worrying, but something inside me told me this was different," she added.

"For the first time in my life, I went out and bought a pregnancy testing kit. When it showed up positive, I couldn't believe it, so I went out and bought another one to check."

Mrs Butscher gave birth by elective caesarean at the Portland Hospital in London on Tuesday after she reached full term but showed no signs of labour. Maja, who weighed 7lb 15oz, is genetically the child of Mrs Butscher's twin.

"When I saw her for the first time, I just cried. She really is a little miracle," Mrs Butscher said.

The acupuncturist and complementary therapist was diagnosed as being infertile 12 years ago and was told her ovaries were not working properly.

Dr Sherman Silber, who carried out the ovary transplant operation, is based at the Infertility Centre of St Louis, in the US state of Missouri.