Expatica news

Healthy ‘miracle baby’ born in Belgium

24 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgian doctors have pioneered a new technology that allows young women made sterile by cancer to have a baby in later life, it emerged on Friday.

The birth of Tamara Touirat, a healthy 3.72 kg, on Thursday has given new hope to young women who become infertile through chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

Her mother Ouarda Touirat, 32, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 25, just one year after she married husband, Malik.

The news put paid to the couple’s hopes to start their own family as Touirat was told her treatment would induce an early menopause and make her infertile.

But a glimmer of hope shone through when she was asked by Professor Jacques Donnez, to help him spearhead a new technique to transplant ovarian tissue.

She did not have to think twice about the offer.

Before chemotherapy, Ouarda’s ovarian tissue was removed from her body and frozen at -196C in liquid nitrogen in the hospital’s storage banks.

Six years later, in April 2003, Ouarda was given the all-clear over her cancer but found that the menopause had already set in.

However, doctors transplanted the ovarian tissue back into her body, just below her existing ovary.

Four months later she was found to be menstruating and ovulating normally, and just eleven months after the transplant, Tamara was conceived naturally.

“It is a major breakthrough for all those patients who, during adolescence or early adulthood find themselves fighting cancer, such as Hodgkin’s disease or leukaemia,” said Professor Donnez.

“This is a miracle for us the parents, and for the hospital team,” Touirat told a press conference.

“I am very, very happy.”

“I was crying at first,” she said of the moment Tamara was born. “It was a dream I had always hoped for.”

Ouarda believes her case will be a “message of hope” to other women who are get cancers early in life.

She urged medical staff “not to hesitate” to offer the treatment to future patients.

“Just look at the proof,” she said.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news