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Women could delay motherhood (and menopause) with ovary transplants

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Laura Mowat
WVoN co-editor 

Women’s ovaries can be removed, stored and replaced so that women can have children later in life.

The procedure, which could cost as much as £16,000, is expected to be available within the next six months.

It is currently only available in a few countries, including the United States, Denmark and Belgium.

So far the treatment has mainly been offered to women cancer patients who want to try to preserve their ovarian tissue in case it is damaged through chemotherapy.

Dr Sherman Silber, a microsurgeon from the USA who has performed transplants of ovarian tissue, told a conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul this week, that 28 babies around the world had been born to women who had their ovarian tissue removed and then replaced.

The ovarian tissue can also be removed and stored. A woman in Belgium reportedly gave birth after her ovarian tissue was frozen for decade, and in Italy a woman had a healthy baby girl after her tissue was frozen for seven years.

Experts predict that the treatment will soon become commonplace and will be offered to women who want to put off having children for whatever reason or who want to delay (or avoid) the menopause.

Dr Silber said “A woman born today has a 50 per cent chance of living to 100. That means they are going to be spending half of their lives post-menopause.”

“You could have grafts removed as a young woman and then have the first replaced as you approach menopausal age. You could then put a slice back every decade.

“Some women might want to go through the menopause, but others might not.”

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