According to the BBC in an article posted today (go read it!), a healthy baby girl was born to a mother who had received an ovary from her identical twin. The woman had ovary failure in her teen years, while her twin had healthy ovaries.
I mentioned egg donation last post and jokingly referred to having spare body parts, but I never considered the viability of the ovary transplant option, if such a need ever arose.
And for good reason too. It was the world's first whole ovary transplant! The new mother received the ovary from her twin to try to alleviate her early menopause. Doctors attached it in such a way to allow eggs to travel as they normally would. The report says the mother was not intending to get pregnant, but she did. What a confirmation that the transplant was a success!
It is noted that most young women with ovary failure have little to no warning to store their ovaries for later and, of course, they don't usually have an identical twin. Because of these women's genetic match at the highest possible level, concern for rejection was very low.
The British Fertility Society supports the removal of ovaries to preserve future fertility in the cases of women who will undergo treatment for cancer. Removing an ovary can be done immediately allowing for chemotherapy or radiation to begin at once, while harvesting eggs takes times because of the injections needed to ripen many follicles at once. The spokesman quoted in the article says that long-term freezing could be just as damaging to fertility as age, and clearly there are other, more applicable options in the treatment of infertility.
Congratulations to the new mother and auntie!