HEALTH

Recovered cancer patient has child after removal of both ovaries in Spanish first

Baby boy born after groundbreaking oocyte-freezing procedure

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Vanesa Pastor poses for the cameras with her newborn son, Mario, and doctors.
Vanesa Pastor poses for the cameras with her newborn son, Mario, and doctors. ALBERTO ESTÉVEZ (EFE)

In the first case of its kind in Spain, a woman who had her ovaries removed due to cancer has given birth to a baby boy.

“It is an exceptional case,” said Pedro Barri, the president of the non-profit Dexeus Foundation in Barcelona, which specializes in women’s healthcare.

Vanesa Pastor was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 and told that her infected left ovary would have to be removed — and her right and uterus as a precautionary measure — which would prevent her ever having children. She sought a second opinion at the Dexeus Foundation, which suggested extracting oocytes and vitrifying them without the need to remove the uterus as the neoplasm was at an early stage.

Once Pastor had recovered from her illness and the right ovary had been checked for malignant cells, a year after it had been removed, the oocytes were unfrozen and used in a process of assisted reproduction. The result of the process was Mario, who was born on June 11.

“I’m very happy, above all I wanted to be a mother and I have become one,” Pastor said.

Before this groundbreaking procedure a similar case unfolded in 2009, when a patient with breast cancer had an implant of ovarian tissue. The same process of oocyte freezing was used, but after the patient had recovered from cancer, not before.

 

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