A Scottish lady has become the first UK cancer survivor to give birth using frozen ovarian tissue. It had been feared the 33-year-old, from Edinburgh, would never have children after undergoing chemotherapy, aged 21, for kidney cancer. She is "astonished and overjoyed" after giving birth to a healthy baby boy earlier this month.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are known to cause early menopause and infertility which is why the Scot had a few millimeters of her ovaries removed, frozen in liquid nitrogen and kept at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Back in 2005 the process of removing and freezing eggs and ovarian tissue was new and experimental with no guarantee of success.
"It was hard to imagine how well it could work, given that my tissue had been stored for such a long time and I had already had one round of chemotherapy before it was removed." So 11 years later, when the tissue was re-implanted onto her damaged ovary, bringing it back to life, she was overjoyed at the prospect of being able to conceive naturally and become a mother.
After the birth of her son she described the medical triumph as a "really wonderful surprise" and thanked doctors for helping her and her husband have a family. As an added bonus, having her ovaries functioning normally again means that she will no longer need to be on hormonal therapy as her early menopause has been reversed.
Rob Thomson, of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS), which collaborated on the scheme, said: "We are pleased to hear this wonderful news and are proud to have been part of this scientific breakthrough, a first in the UK."