Alabama Woman Gives Birth Thanks To Sisters Ovaries

    June 8, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A 25-year-old Alabama woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl 15 months after receiving an ovarian transplant. The ovarian tissue was donated from her identical twin sister.

Alabama Woman Gives Birth Thanks To Sister's Ovaries

Stephanie Yarber of Muscle Shoals has marked history by being the first woman to have a baby after an ovarian tissue transplant.

Though doctors say that infertility in twins has five-fold the frequency that the general population has, Yarber case is a unique one. Ms. Yarber reached menopause at age 14, following only a few menstrual cycles. Like all menopausal women, her ovaries and uterus shrank and became non-functioning. After several attempts at in vitro fertilization, they brought in Dr. Sherman J. Silber of St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis to perform the transplant.

Three months after receiving the transplant from her fertile twin sister, Melanie Morgan who was fertile and had three children, Stephanie began menstruating. Hormones caused her uterus to return to normal size. She became pregnant naturally and gave birth naturally to a 7lb 14-ounce girl.

Dr. Roger G. Gosden, professor of reproductive biology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and transplant team member for the sisters is optimistic about the future of the procedure. “[T]he procedure could be used very widely, and will replace a lot of conventional egg donation,” he said, once organ rejection concerns are overcome. That the two women involved were twins with identical genetic makeup made rejection a non-issue.

The article will be published in the July 7th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, delayed from last year pending a healthy birth result.

“Stephanie should be able to have many more babies this way,” Dr. Silber said.

Dr. Silber said the success of the ovarian tissue transplant had important implications for treating chemotherapy patients who have been left infertile.

Since the success of the operation, similar procedures have been done.

“We just did our third ovarian transplant between identical twins today,” Dr. Silber said. “We think there’ll be a lot more.”