Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Healthy Baby Born After Frozen Ovarian Tissue Implant

Thanks to my mom for sending me this article, which I believe was written by Ron Krumer.

"Against almost all odds, 28-year-old Arin Nasser gave birth to a healthy baby boy this week thanks to a unique procedure that involved removing, freezing and implanting slices of her ovarian tissue.

Arin was born in the Arab village Gush-Halav near Safad in the upper Galilee with Thalassemia (a potentially fatal genetic blood disease) – her only hope was a bone marrow transplant.

When she was 21, Prof. Reuven Or and Dr. Michael Shapira of Hadassah’s Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation performed the lifesaving procedure. But before the operation, before she was married, Arin was determined to make sure that some day she could have children. She turned to Hadassah for help.

About two months before the transplant, Hadassah doctors removed exceedingly thin slices of her ovarian tissue with a special instrument originally developed by Prof. Eduardo Mitrani of the Hebrew University’s Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. Prof. Neri Laufer, Head of Hadassah’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Dr. Ariel Revel of that department collaborated with Prof. Mitrani in the development of the human applications for the instrument.

The (bone marrow -r.i.) transplant took, Arin recovered, returned to her Galilee home in Gush Chalav and married. A few years ago, she returned to Hadassah – this time with the hope of becoming pregnant. In a unique procedure, Prof. Laufer and Dr. Revel implanted pieces of the frozen tissue and reconstructed her ovaries. The microscopic thickness of the tissue their instrument produced enabled Arin’s body to accept them relatively easily and without complications. Under the supervision of Prof. Alex Simon, Director of Hadassah’s In Vitro Fertilization Center, Arin became pregnant. 3 days ago she gave birth to her first child – both of them in good condition – and both resting comfortably in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center."

Mommy & baby :-) Congratulations!!!

Another article of interest: Babies born a year apart after ovary transplant

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thoughts about adoption

At one point, nearly 20 years ago, I considered adoption. I had two options - one was adopting from the US, from a state where abortion is illegal and many babies are put up for adoption each year and the other was adopting in Israel, which was likely to involve a six year wait in order to get a baby. When I thought about it, I knew that I wasn't ready to accept just any baby. I wanted to know that s/he was healthy, that the mother hadn't used drugs or alcohol during the pregnancy, that the baby was normal... and then I thought that if my demands were so high, I just wasn't ready to adopt. That adoption should mean a willingness to accept any child who needed a home.

I did sign up for adoption in Israel and went through the entire initial process, which included many meetings... but I hoped that by the time they called, I'd be able to say that they could just call the next person... that I was no longer eligible (because I already had a baby of my own). I got a "checking-in" call when I was about 5 months pregnant with Hadas and I don't remember ever hearing from them again (perhaps at some point they contacted me and I told them to take me off the list, but I don't remember). And while I was going through the process, I had no doubt that I could love the baby as my own. That I would always feel that s/he (and I had no preference for gender) was an incredible gift that I was given to love and take care of and help become an independent individual...

Now, having my own biological children, I wonder. I wonder how I would feel about extremely violent behavior, for example. Or a child being terribly destructive. I wonder if it is easier to accept genetic predisposition to undesirable behavior when you know where it came from. Or when you know that later in life the parent was able to overcome it. What if the adopted baby grew into a person who had a really addictive personality and I had to spend years of my life struggling to keep the child on the right side of things? Would I resent that? Would I at some point question my decision to have become an adoptive parent?

I think before I had kids I believed that nurturing a child was incredibly powerful, able to overcome nature... Now I think that nature has quite a lot to say about who we are deep inside. Of course we have the power to change things, but in order to change, you have to have the willpower... and that, it seems, is also highly determined by nature...

Something else I may have missed then (back in the early 90's) was that babies grow up and become people. I know it sounds incredibly trivial, but when you're trying to conceive, your goal is a baby. A child of your own, but, when you were going through infertility (or if you are now) how old did that child ever get in your imagination? I don't think mine was ever beyond 2 or 3. And incredibly cute and lovable. I mean, you don't really picture a little (very lovable, of course) terror who's climbing on the counters and flinging the silverware out of the drawers and then finding that one pen you accidentally left somewhere and using it to write all over your fancy new white dress... (and if you did, I'm impressed. I was not that creative.)

The last thing I missed was the connection to family. Where does this new person, who probably has a background very different from my own, fit in with the whole family tree? Is it like someone who marries into a family? If my kids had an adopted cousin, would it seem just like a regular cousin, even without that genetic link? And a few generations down the line - what does this person have in common with a distant cousin? I'm not trying to say there isn't a connection, I am just wondering if it is the same as having a genetic bond, no matter how small...

I’m prepared to be flamed and to hear how wrong / na├»ve / insensitive I am. I never adopted, I really don’t know what it’s like.

All thoughts are welcome…