First Pregnancy in Australia from Ovarian Tissue Freezing

Monash IVF announces First Pregnancy in Australia from Ovarian Tissue Freezing

In another Australian first Monash IVF is thrilled to announce the first pregnancy in Australia from ovarian tissue freezing and the second in the world for a breast cancer survivor.

Below is an example of the extensive media coverage we have received since this announcement:

Cancer survivor conceives after frozen ovarian tissue operation

Brigid O’Connell, Herald Sun, 28 November 2012

An ultrasound of the first pregnancy using frozen ovarian tissue

A Melbourne breast cancer survivor is the first Australian woman to become pregnant using frozen ovarian tissue.    

The breakthrough by Monash IVF will pave the way for ovarian tissue grafting to become standard treatment for women about to start chemotherapy and those at risk of early menopause.

The 44-year-old is 6 1/2 weeks pregnant, four months after her tissue was thawed and grafted back inside her ovaries.

“She’s over the moon, but still very shocked that it has actually happened. I think it’s a bit surreal,” Monash IVF’s clinical director, Dr Lynn Burmeister, said.

“She thought she’d die from breast cancer at age 37, she met a guy at 43 and now we’ve used her 37-year-old eggs to get her pregnant.”

In 2005, before starting aggressive cancer treatment, Dr Burmeister removed a 1cm by 2cm-long strip of ovarian tissue from the woman.

As revealed by the Herald Sun, the woman’s oncologists gave gynaecologists the all-clear in April for the tissue to be implanted, allowing her to naturally ovulate.

It is the 20th successful pregnancy using this experimental technique in the world, but only the second for a breast cancer survivor.

A scan on Monday showed the baby’s heartbeat.

Monash IVF director, Professor Gab Kovacs, who trained Dr Burmeister in the technique, said he received a “back of an envelope tutorial” from Israeli specialists who had successfully transplanted frozen ovarian tissue. Prof Kovacs implanted the ovarian tissue in his first patient in 2009.

The team say their technique is superior to others available in Victoria because they perform a laparotomy, which involves making an incision in the abdominal wall, rather than endoscopic/laparoscopic surgery, which is keyhole surgery.

He said the benefits for women undergoing an ovarian transplant were that it was cheaper than other fertility treatments, easier to perform and did not involve taking hormones.

Dr Burmeister said she recommended tissue-freezing for cancer sufferers, but it could also be beneficial for women at high risk of going into premature menopause.

She said it was a new frontier for IVF and for cancer sufferers.



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