Woman who had ovary removed and frozen during battle with cancer wants it back… so she can become a mother
Changes to legislation mean she can't have ovary back
A woman is battling to get her ovary back and have a child after it was removed and frozen before she underwent cancer treatment.
Kate Oliver, 28, from Yelverton, Devon was diagnosed with rare bone cancer Ewing’s sarcoma when she was 16.
She had a tumour the size of a melon and had her right shoulder blade removed.
Kate Oliver, 28, from Yelverton, Devon was diagnosed with rare bone cancer Ewing's sarcoma when she was 16
Doctors told her anti cancer drugs would make her infertile so before chemotherapy she had an ovary removed and frozen at Leeds hospital.
She was given only a 40 per cent chance of survival.
She has since recovered and wants to start a family.
Changes to human tissue legislation means she is currently unable to have her ovary back.
Ms Oliver said: 'I was told at the time I had the procedure if I wanted it back all I had to do was contact them and they would get the ball rolling.
'It’s not been that easy because the laws have changed now.
'They’ve stopped doing the procedure – nobody in this country at the moment has had it done.
'In Europe and America it’s being done successfully – but not here.'
In a statement the Leeds teaching hospital NHS trust said: 'We are currently unable due to changes in the human tissue authority legislation.
'We don’t have the facilities to meet the requirements set out in the legislation.
Ms Oliver added: 'It kind of makes me angry because it’s my tissue.
'You know – and I don’t see why I should have to fight so hard to have it back.'
It’s thought that around 12 women outside the UK have given birth through this pioneering method.
Leeds Hospital said as soon as it’s in a position to proceed with treatment it will be in touch.
Leeds Hospital said as soon as it's in a position to proceed with treatment it will be in touch
If Ms Oliver does get her ovary back she could be the first person in this country to have a baby using the experimental technique.
Ms Oliver, a special needs teacher, said: 'I just want my tissue back and to be given the chance to have a family.
'If it does happen it will be incredible. It’s just the waiting and not knowing.
'I feel like I’m in limbo and I don’t want to try anything else until I know whether or not I can have my own child.
'I want to try now because if this doesn’t work I want to consider other options ~ an egg donation or adoption.'
Ms Oliver, who is single, plans to use a sperm donor in order to give birth.
Before starting chemotherapy she was told it would probably make her infertile.
She was given the option of ‘ovarian tissue cryopreservation’, an experimental procedure which could enable her to have children.
She took up the offer and underwent the keyhole surgery in Leeds.
Her left ovary was removed and parts stored in 20 vials at the specialist centre, where they remain today.
Almost 10 years later, in 2009, she decided it was time to start thinking about having a child.
She contacted the Leeds Centre for Reproductive Medicine, part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, about receiving the graft which could enable her to produce eggs, or the possibility of eggs being grown from the tissue to be used in IVF treatment.
Ms Oliver attended an appointment with her consultant in February 2010 and was told it could take around six to nine months before she could undergo a procedure.
'I always knew it was going to be a long process which is why I contacted the hospital a couple of years ago,' she said.
'When I was told six to nine months, I was really happy.
'Two years later I’m still waiting. They are trying to push it forward but I’ve been told there is still no progress as there is not a satisfactory unit in any hospital in this country to perform the procedure.'
A spokeswoman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said they are currently unable to carry out the procedure due to changes in the Human Tissue Authority legislation, since Kate’s tissue was first stored.
Legislation which has tightened around the storage, processing and re-implantation of tissue includes Human Tissue regulations, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act and the EU Tissue and Cells Directives 2007.
The Human Tissue Authority said Chapel Allerton Hospital, also part of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, holds a full suite of HTA licences, including a licence for processing tissue.