A 24-year-old woman from Dubai has become the first person to have a baby using tissue from an ovary that was frozen before she hit puberty. Moaza Al Matrooshi, who gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the Portland Hospital in London this week, had had her right ovary removed and cryogenically frozen when she was just nine, in order to protect it from being damaged by chemotherapy.
Having been born with a potentially fatal blood condition called beta thalassaemia, Al Matrooshi had to undergo the treatment as a young girl. However, because chemotherapy can damage reproductive tissues, doctors decided to remove her right ovary beforehand. It was then stored under liquid nitrogen for the next 15 years, at a temperature of -196°C (-320.8°F).
After undergoing chemotherapy, Al Matrooshi’s left ovary stopped working and she went into menopause. However, when doctors later transplanted small strips of tissue from her preserved right ovary onto both her left ovary and the side of her uterus, her hormones returned to normal, allowing her to have periods.
She then underwent in-vitro fertilization (IVF) using sperm from her husband Ahmed, resulting in two embryos being implanted into her womb nine months ago – one of which gave rise to her new son.
Sara Matthews, who conducted the IVF treatment, told the BBC that “this is a huge step forward. We know that ovarian tissue transplantation works for older women, but we've never known if we could take tissue from a child, freeze it and make it work again.”
Understandably delighted to have become a mother, Al Matrooshi described the event as “a miracle,” adding that “we’ve been waiting so long for this result: a healthy baby.”