Mrs Moaza Al Matrooshi, from Dubai, gave birth in London on 13 December, after surgeons implanted ovarian tissue taken when she was nine years old - before puberty - and this appears to be a world first. Mrs Al Matrooshi was born with an inherited blood disorder and needed chemotherapy before receiving a bone marrow transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. This chemotherapy would render her infertile and as a precautionary measure her right ovary was removed in 2001 in an operation in Leeds and the tissue frozen by Professor Helen Picton and her team.
As with many such ovarian preservations, the tissue was frozen down in a Planer controlled rate freezer before being stored at liquid nitrogen temperatures. It was mixed with cryopreservatives and controlled rate frozen so that the sample stayed viable and undamaged after the liquid nitrogen storage temperatures experienced.
Prof Picton, Scientific Director of the Leeds Centre For Reproductive Medicine, says that the procedure to store the tissue in 2001 was done before any birth from ovarian tissue preservation. The first such birth occurred in Louvain, Belgium under Prof Donnez in 2004 - again using Planer programmable freezers. Prof Picton, who oversaw the tissue-freezing at Leeds University, reported to the BBC, that in Europe alone, several thousand girls and young women have now had ovarian tissue frozen and stored.
Mrs Al Matrooshi's ovary remained frozen until 2015 when it was sent to Denmark, where the transplant took place. The surgeons there transplanted five slivers of the ovarian tissue back into her body – four were stitched on to a failed left ovary and one on to the side of the uterus. After the transplant hormone levels returned to normal Mrs Al Matrooshi began ovulating and fertility was restored. IVF was undertaken at the Portland hospital to maximise the chance of pregnancy, resulting in the production of three embryos, two of which were implanted. Worldwide more than sixty babies have been born from women who had their fertility restored, but Moaza is the first case from pre-pubertal freezing and the first from a patient who had treatment for beta thalassaemia.