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“Ovary Transplant Baby, ‘A Miracle'”

BBC, November 15th, 2008

The first woman in the world to have a whole ovary transplant has spoken of her delight at giving birth to a healthy baby girl.

Susanne Butscher was given the ovary by her twin sister Dorothee a year ago, after developing early menopause.

She gave birth to Maja, named after the Roman goddess of fertility, at the Portland Hospital in London on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old told the Daily Telegraph the newborn child was a “little miracle”.

“Being the first woman in the world to give birth after a whole ovary transplant hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m just so grateful to the doctors who enabled this to happen, and to my sister, of course,” she said.

Mrs. Butcher, who is German, gave birth by elective Caesarean at the private hospital after she reached full term but without experiencing any labour pains.

She told the newspaper she hoped her story would offer hope to other women in the same position.

She said: “I’m so lucky to have had this wonderful opportunity, which has given me a sense of completeness I would never have had otherwise.”

Her daughter Maja weighed 7lb 15oz (3.6kg) when she was born.

Mrs. Butscher said: “When I saw her for the first time I just cried. She really is a little miracle.”

The acupuncturist and complementary therapist said she had first found out she was infertile 12 years ago.

But she, and her husband Stephan, 40, conceived naturally after her twin, who has two children herself, donated the ovary.

The transplant operation was carried out by Dr. Sherman Silber, who is based at the Infertility Center of St. Louis, in Missouri in the US.

He has given ovarian tissue transplants to nine twins previously, but Mrs. Butscher’s case was the first successful whole ovary transplant.

The ovary was implanted using microsurgical techniques to reattach it to its blood supply and hold it in place alongside the fallopian tube, so that eggs could be expelled and travel down the tube towards the womb in the normal way.

Dr. Silber announced the birth at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Conference in San Francisco earlier this week.

He told the conference that the full ovary transplant was likely to last longer than strips of ovarian tissue, and might allow a woman’s ovary to be removed and put back after extended storage.

“This,” he said, “could allow women who are delaying motherhood for career or other reasons to improve their chances of having a baby later in life.”


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