Ovarian Transplant Recipient Gives Birth Twice
First Child Was Born After Fertility Treatment, but Seconnd Child Was Conceived Naturally
WebMD News Archive
Timeline of a Medical First continued...
Her treatment included multiple sessions of chemotherapy and then surgical
removal of the rest of the tumor. The chemo put her into early menopause.
In December 2005, doctors transplanted six thin strips of ovarian tissue
from what remained of her right ovary. The ovary began working again. She
underwent mild ovarian stimulation in Andersen's fertility clinic and became
pregnant, giving birth to her first daughter Aviaja in February 2007.
In January 2008, Bergholdt, who is a doctor and a co-author of the paper,
went back to Andersen's clinic, thinking she would need more IVF treatment to
achieve a second pregnancy. But she found out she was already pregnant --
having conceived naturally -- and gave birth to her daughter Lucca in September
In an email interview, Bergholdt recalled the transplant experience. "Of
course it is not pain free, but when you have cancer and are facing
chemotherapy and much bigger and more invasive surgery this [transplant] was
not a big deal," she writes. "At least not for me! The benefits and hope of
having a child of my own did compensate for that pain and discomfort."
While both pregnancies were initially ''hard to believe," Bergholdt says
eventually "as I grew bigger and bigger I became less skeptical and began to
enjoy the pregnancies and all the great expectations about the babies, and me
becoming a mother!"
How Ovarian Transplants Work
The freezing or cryopreservation of ovarian tissue is a relatively new
medical method, Andersen reports in his paper, developed initially to help
cancer patients with the hope of reproducing once their treatment is
Although the transplant is still viewed as experimental, Andersen writes, it
is slowly becoming accepted as an alternative to other fertility-preserving
methods such as egg freezing.
Ovarian transplants might also help women whose fertility is impaired by
treatments for other diseases such as autoimmune diseases, Andersen tells
WebMD. More controversial than a transplant after treatment for a disease,
Andersen says, is freezing ovarian tissue for transplantation in women who have
delayed childbearing or who have entered menopause but then want to