'Miracle' second child for former cancer patient
Published 25/02/2010 | 05:00
A former cancer patient has made medical history by giving birth to two babies after her fertility was restored with frozen ovarian tissue.
Medical doctor Stinne Bergholdt, now 32, is the first woman in the world to undergo the procedure and become a mother twice with separate pregnancies.
Yesterday she described the birth of her second baby, Lucca, achieved without the help of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment, as "a miracle".
Dr Bergholdt, from Odense, Denmark, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare cancer that mainly affects the bones, at the age of 27 in 2004.
Before starting chemotherapy, which would have left her sterile, part of her right ovary was removed and frozen.
In December 2005, after successful treatment, six thin strips of frozen ovarian tissue were thawed and transplanted onto what remained of her right ovary.
After mild ovarian stimulation she became pregnant and gave birth to her first daughter, Aviaja, in February, 2007.
The following year Dr Bergholdt returned to the clinic where the transplant took place to have IVF. But the treatment was not necessary -- a pregnancy test revealed she had conceived again naturally.
Nine children worldwide have now been born as a result of freezing and thawing ovarian tissue.
Lucca's birth is important because it shows that a single procedure can keep a woman fertile over periods of years, allowing her to get pregnant more than once.
Doctors believe young women undergoing cancer treatment could be helped to avoid a premature menopause for decades.
Dr Bergholdt, one of the authors of a research paper about her case in the journal 'Human Reproduction', said: "It was a very nice surprise to find out that my body was now functioning normally and that we were having a baby without having to go through the fertility treatment.
"It was indeed a miracle."