An Israeli woman who survived cancer gave birth to twins last week after undergoing a revolutionary procedure in which her frozen ovarian tissue was implanted back into her body.
Revital, 41, is the first woman in Israel to become pregnant through the procedure. According to a recent article in Medscape, some 30 ovarian tissue freezings have resulted in successful pregnancies for women who froze their tissue before undergoing treatment for cancer. She is only the second woman to have twins thanks to the procedure.
Revital was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, and doctors told her treatment for the disease would leave her infertile. Before she underwent treatment, they extracted, fertilized and froze her eggs, but years later found that they didn’t survive. Instead they tried transplanting the frozen ovarian tissue.
Revital had planned to use frozen embryos with donor sperm, but the embryos did not survive being frozen. At first thinking she had lost her last chance to have children, she was informed of the possibility of transplanting tissue taken from her ovaries prior to her cancer treatments. After an ultrasound, the doctor gave her stunning news.
“Suddenly the doctor explained to me that from a barren women I’ve turned into a fertile one,” Revital said.
“The doctor turned my clock back five years, because my eggs were from age 36,” Revital told the channel. “It’s like he froze time for me.”
Not long after the procedure, she met her husband Omri, with whom she is celebrating today. Nitai and Ariel were born last week.
Revital, for one, is still in shock.
“I look down at them and I still don’t believe it.”
An Australian woman named Vali Creus gave birth to twin daughters Alexis and Kaia just last year. She was also rendered infertile after undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, but grew new eggs from her frozen ovarian tissue which had been grafted to her abdominal wall.
“We have proven that ovarian tissue can still work and function normally outside the pelvis, which is its normal environment,” Professor Kate Stern, Creus’ fertility specialist, said to the Telegraph in 2013. “For patients who have severe pelvic disease where we can’t put the tissue back, we can now offer these patients the realistic chance of getting pregnant.”
Ovarian transplant is one of several methods used to deal with infertility. There are also some healthy women who have begun using the technique to start a family later in life.