A 43-year-old Melbourne woman resumed her natural ovulation after she underwent an ovarian tissue transplant. She is now six weeks pregnant and the 20th woman in the world and the first in Australia to become pregnant using the ground-breaking technique.
While the technology holds promise of placing menopause on hold, not all women approaching their 40s could benefit from it. IVF specialists from Monash IVF said they will likely offer it only to females whose fertility is at risk for ailments such as cancer.
In the case of the Melbourne mother-to-be, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment in 2005. Prior to the treatment, her ovarian tissues were preserved and reimplanted in 2012.
The technique was pioneered in Israel, but fertility experts cautioned its use on women in their 20s and 30s who are not yet ready to bear children, but want to have the option to become pregnant at a later age. They said such an approach is too experimental.
However, they are open to using the technique on females who have strong family histories of early menopause.
Michael Chapman, vice president of the Fertility Society of Australia, said for now there is no evidence that the technique could postpone menopause indefinitely, but he acknowledge the situation may be different in the near future.
"The freezing and putting-back process destroys most of the eggs with the current technology but we've said that about a lot of things with IVF and the technology keeps getting better, so we'll be saying different things five years from now," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mr Chapman.
Gab Kovacs, the director of Monash IVF, disclosed on Wednesday night the successful resumption of natural ovulation and eventual pregnancy of the 43-year-old Melbourne woman.
Late pregnancy is becoming more popular among females as women in their teens and 20s often opt to focus on their careers rather than raising families, but often reconsider the decision to either get pregnant and/or start a family when they reach their late 30s or early 40s, which makes childbearing riskier.
Besides the technique developed by Monash IVF, some groups were pushing for natural methods for menopausal women to become pregnant as seen in this YouTube video.