“This is incredibly important for women in the future who undergo cancer treatment. This shows that it works, there are things that can be done,” Kenny Rodriguez-Wallberg, senior physician at Karolinska Hospital’s women’s clinic, told The Local.
The birth, by caesarian section at Mälar hospital in Eskilstuna in eastern Sweden, was the first of its kind in Sweden and little baby Freja is one of only 25 babies worldwide to have been conceived following a transplant of the mother's ovarian tissue.
“I have been to a lot of births in my time and this was very special. The mother had been very sick a few years ago. To now come back healthy, to have met a man and been able to start a family, it is wonderful,” said Rodriguez-Wallberg, who was in attendance at the birth.
The family is doing well and after a short stay at the hospital are expected to head home and begin life as a young family.
For the research community in Sweden, the hard work is just beginning and Rodriguez-Wallberg expressed hope that funding will be made available and that local health authorities demonstrate a commitment to expand and develop the possibility for women who have suffered cancer to conceive.
One of the adverse effects of radiotherapy is infertility and the possibility to freeze ovarian tissue enables women to retain the possibility of having children at a later date after they have regained their health.
“The opportunities develop and expand every year. We need more inter-disciplinary research to develop this field and we need to ensure that women are given the right information, at the right time,” Rodriguez-Wallberg said.
“We have now seen the proof that it works. The success is here. This is good for patients.”