By Thomas Oriti.
A 24-year-old woman has given birth in London after doctors restored her fertility using ovarian tissue preserved when she was nine.
Although ovarian tissue transplants work for older women, doctors have never successfully used tissue from such a young child, and experts say the news gives hope to women with childhood illnesses.
Moaza Al Matrooshi was born in Dubai with a serious blood disorder. By the age of nine she needed chemotherapy, which resulted in her ovaries becoming damaged.
Before the treatment doctors froze tissue from her right ovary with the hope it could be used to restore her fertility later in life.
She never thought she would be able to give birth.
“It’s a miracle that I have my baby now,” she said.
After more than a decade in storage, the frozen tissue was stitched onto Ms Al Matrooshi’s damaged left ovary during surgery in Denmark.
Dr Sara Matthews, Ms Al Matrooshi’s fertility specialist, spoke to the BBC’s medical correspondent Fergus Walsh about the procedure.
“It was put back into Moaza… into an ovary that was basically failing, into a maelstrom of hormones — and it may have just decided not to do anything,” she said.
“But it reactivated and then told the body that the body was no longer going through menopause, and then the ovary started to work again and produce eggs like a young ovary would do.”
It began producing eggs within months.
“We’ve been waiting for a long time for something like this, and it’s been a process over the last two years to arrange it,” Dr Matthews said.
“But to see a baby at the end of it all is absolutely wonderful.”
Procedure offers ‘great hope’ for young women
While restoring fertility using ovarian tissue is not a new procedure, Dr Matthews said it had never been done using tissue that was taken from a patient before puberty.