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IVF medical miracle
IVF medical miracle

An unlikely Melbourne pregnancy is being described as a medical miracle that could change the lives of thousands of women with fertility problems.

In an Australian first, doctors at Melbourne's Monash Medical Centre have performed a rare ovarian tissue transplant on a breast cancer survivor.

The 44-year-old patient then underwent IVF and is now pregnant.

Diagnosed with a breast cancer but desiring a child, the woman went to Monash IVF specialist Doctor Lynn Burmeister in a drastic step to keep her slim hopes of conceiving alive.

In 2006, the then 37-year-old woman underwent surgery to have a piece of her ovary removed and the tissue containing healthy eggs then frozen before she started chemotherapy.

The intense treatment would have almost certainly damaged the woman's ovaries, and her chances of reproduction.

In April this year, the woman, now cancer free and married to the man of her dreams, decided she was ready for a family so returned to the medical centre where the tissue was re-implanted.

Just four months later, the ovary started functioning again, producing healthy eggs.

With the help of successful IVF treatment, the woman is now in her sixth week of pregnancy.

Doctors are overwhelmed by the remarkable result.

Dr Burmeister told Seven News presenter and reporter Jennifer Keyte: "This is a new frontier for medicine and for IVF. It's a brave new world.

"The patient is overwhelmed. It was incredibly emotional, and she burst out crying and we had little tears in our eyes."

The woman is only the 19th person in the world, and the first in Australia to fall pregnant after an ovary tissue transplant.

The procedure - hailed a medical miracle - could in time change the lives of thousands of women with fertility issues.

Professor Gab Kovacs, from Monash IVF in Victoria, told Seven News: "We believe having achieved the first pregnancy in Australia that this will be a technique that many women can use."

"This has revolutionised treatment for cancer patients," Dr Burmeister added.

The breakthrough means women could also one day defy the female body clock and conceive after menopause.

Dr Burmeister said: "It means women can potentially preserve their fertility. If they are at risk of going into early menopause, they can potentially save some tissues in their early twenties and have their tissue put back in in their late thirties."

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