Emma Leach, a British woman, had undergone chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, which rendered her infertile. In order to regain her fertility, she underwent robotic ovarian transplant surgery in the USA.
Before undergoing chemotherapy five years back, Leach’s ovarian tissue had been frozen. Now, it was flown in from Britain and using a robot, small pieces of her ovaries were implanted back into her body. Through a keyhole incision, they were stitched into the non-functioning ovary. Following the transplant, hormonal function and growth of the egg follicles were observed, but was short-lived probably due to the tiny amount of tissue used for the transplant. Leach wished she had frozen a whole ovary before commencing her cancer therapy.
Kutluk Oktay, a Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the New York Medical College and founder of the Institute for Fertility Preservation, is to present this research at the April meeting of the Transatlantic Reproductive Technologies Network. He had commented that this procedure was the first in the usage of a robot for performing an ovarian transplant. The robotic arm used for the transplant had the capability to imitate hand movement, but with more precision and without tremor. This enabled fine suturing to be done at microscopic levels.