A woman who had an ovary removed in her fight against cancer has been told that due to a change in the law she is now not automatically entitled to have it returned so she can have a baby. Now she must fight the law for her right to give birth.
Kate Oliver was 16 when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer which produced a tumour the size of a melon. She was given just a 40% chance of surviving, and was told that the chemotherapy she needed would most likely render her infertile.
Doctors at the time offered to remove an ovary, and to have it frozen in the event that she survived and later wanted to attempt to have children.
Since then Miss Oliver has had her right shoulder blade removed, and underwent a year of aggressive chemotherapy, which resulted in her receiving the all clear.
Now 28, she wants the chance to have her frozen ovary re-implanted to give her the chance of becoming a mother.
However, doctors have explained that a tightening in the law on re-implantation now means that they cannot automatically carry out the procedure.
“I was told at the time I had the procedure done that if I wanted it back, all I had to do was contact them and they would get the ball rolling. Well it’s not been that easy,” said Miss Oliver.
The change in the law has meant that no UK surgeons have performed the re-implantation procedure that Miss Oliver needs. This means that she would have to travel privately to the United States or to Europe, where the law is different.
“It makes me angry because it’s my tissue and I don’t see why I have to fight so hard to have it back,” she added.
The procedure to remove the ovary tissue was carried out at the Leeds Centre for Reproductive Medicine, now part of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ NHS Trust. At the time the procedure was highly experimental; however, since then 23 babies have been born around the world from re-implanted ovary tissue.
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