Ovary Transplants: Wave Of Future?

Ovary transplants could be as common as kidney transplants one day, according to the doctor who delivered the girl born this week to the woman who had the first known successful ovary transplant in the United States.

In the spring of 2004, doctors transplanted ovarian tissue from Melanie Morgan to her identical twin sister, Stephanie Yarber, who was infertile because she had gone through menopause at 13.

Because the sisters have identical genetic material, there was no need for anti-rejection drugs, which have significant side effects.

On Monday, Yarber, 25, had a healthy 7 pound, 15 ounce daughter, Anna.

Dr. L. Braden Richmond of Russellville (Ala.) Hospital led the team in the delivery room.

He

The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler ovary transplants could offer hope to many infertile women.

"Even women who do not have a twin or an identical twin will be able to do this in the future," Richmond says. "Doctors…will advance this technology. I believe it will become like donating a kidney.

"Fortunately, women have two ovaries. Any time a woman is willing to risk, as long as she's a match for the woman who needs an ovary, one of her ovaries, and therefore continue to preserve her hormone function and her fertility, I think that other women will be able to help other women that they know in need that they may be a good match for. You'll see family members, close friends being tested to see if they're matches in ovarian transplants like they are in kidney transplants."

Richmond says he delivered Morgan's three children, and first met Yarber in the delivery room as Morgan was having her first child.

"I got to see Stephanie from afar at that point, and got to see their relationship and her joy, being, I think at that time, maybe a newlywed or even just dating her husband, and knowing that was something she wanted in her future and was possibly a little concerned she might never be able to have."

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soon after the transplant. They appeared along with the doctor who performed the transplant, Dr. Sherman Silber of St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis.

Silber's research partner, Dr. Roger Gosden of New York's Weill-Cornell Medical Center, says the two are ecstatic about the baby and the medical breakthrough: "Now we have the strongest proof of principle that the transplantation procedure can work and really work quite successfully."

Morgan said during a news conference earlier this week that the decision to make the gift of life possible for her twin was an easy one: "She wanted to have kids and I had an extra ovary. I just knew it was one of those things that I knew I was gonna do when she came to me with it."