As a 9-year-old, Moaza Al Matrooshi had her ovaries removed and frozen in hopes that she could someday have a family. Now 23, she may be the first woman to have children using an ovary frozen before puberty, reports the The Telegraph.
Al Matrooshi's ovaries were removed before she received chemotherapy treatment for beta thalassaemia (an inherited blood disorder) because chemotherapy can damage ovarian function. Her ovary was frozen until she received a transplant in Denmark last year. Using in-vitro fertilization to increase the chances of pregnancy, doctors have produced three embryos, and plan to implant one next month. If the procedure is successful, this could finally give thousands of women—previously without the option—the chance to become pregnant.
"This allows young girls who develop cancer or have other conditions that require chemotherapy, like beta thalassaemia, to have children where the vast majority, over 90 percent, would not be able to have their own children," Dr. Sara Matthews, Al Matrooshi's gynecologist, told The Telegraph.
In 2015, a 27-year-old Belgian woman gave birth to a baby boy using frozen ovarian tissue removed when she was 13, according to the BBC. Because she had started puberty but hadn't gotten her period when her ovary was removed, this procedure was a sign that pregnancy from pre-pubescent frozen ovaries may be successful. The procedure has been established as successful with ovaries from adults; the BBC reported that more than 40 babies have been born using frozen ovarian tissue from older women.
This good news comes in the wake of a failed uterus transplant in the U.S.—bringing hope to certain infertile women, though not all.
"I want to believe I will be pregnant. I cannot wait for that day. I would like to say to all women that they have got to have hope," Al Matrooshi told the The Sunday Times.