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St. Louis Metro Area Woman is First U.S. Cancer Survivor To Give Birth as a Result of Ovary Freezing and Transplantation

The fertility preservation procedures were performed by Sherman Silber, MD, renowned St. Louis infertility specialist.

CHESTERFIELD, MO, July 16, 2010 - Thirteen years ago, when Amy Tucker was 19 years old, she faced a diagnosis of advanced cancer and the certainty of never having children, even if her cancer could be cured. Today, Tucker is cancer-free. She is also the mother of a beautiful baby boy, thanks to fertility preservation procedures performed by Sherman Silber, MD, director of the Infertility Center of St. Louis at St. Luke's Hospital.

According to Dr. Silber, Tucker, now 32 and living in Columbia, Ill., is the first cancer survivor in the United States to give birth to a baby as a result of ovary freezing and transplantation.

"One in every 250 young women today is a cancer survivor, but their cancer treatment usually leaves these women sterile. In essence, it castrates these young girls chemically and radiologically while curing the cancer," said Dr. Silber. "With ovary freezing and transplantation, women can now preserve their ovaries and their fertility for the future after they are cured of their cancer. This medical advance brings a tremendous feeling of optimism to young women with cancer as well as to those who need to postpone childbearing for other reasons. It gives women with cancer the emotional message that we are expecting them to be cured, and 90 percent are cured."

In 1997, Tucker's treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma began with six months of chemotherapy. She went into remission, but her cancer quickly returned. In 1998, Amy, then 20, needed more sterilizing cancer treatment. Fortunately, one of her healthcare providers told her about Dr. Silber's pioneering research in fertility preservation, and she decided to have Dr. Silber remove and freeze one of her ovaries. After radiation, a bone marrow transplant and more chemotherapy, she was cured of her cancer and has been in remission since 2001. But the treatment that saved her life also left her menopausal and otherwise unable to have children.

In January 2009, Tucker returned to Dr. Silber so he could transplant her ovarian tissue that had been frozen more than a decade earlier. And on May 27, 2010, Tucker gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Grant Patrick Tucker.

Tucker, though the first cancer survivor in the U.S. to give birth as a result of these fertility preservation procedures, is one of a couple dozen women in the world who have chosen ovary freezing to protect them from the sterilizing effects of cancer treatment.

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Amy & Grant Tucker and Dr. Sherman Silber
Amy and Grant Tucker
Dr. Sherman Silber

About St. Luke's Hospital:
St. Luke's Hospital, located in Chesterfield, Missouri, is a regional healthcare provider committed to improving the quality of life for patients and the community. The 493-bed, not-for-profit hospital offers more than 60 specialty areas including cardiovascular care and surgery, cancer care, neurosurgery and neurology, orthopedics, maternity and other women's health, general medicine, outpatient services, pediatrics and comprehensive surgical services.

St. Luke's was the only Missouri hospital recognized in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 as an America's 50 Best Hospital by HealthGrades, ranking among the top one percent in the nation based on superior clinical quality. St. Luke's is also the only Missouri hospital to receive the HealthGrades 2009/2010 Women's Health Excellence Award for providing quality healthcare to women.

St. Luke's Hospital is part of the Spirit of Women Hospital Network, a coalition of hospitals and healthcare providers across the United States that ascribes to the highest standards of excellence in women's health, education and community outreach. For more information about St. Luke's Hospital, please visit www.stlukes-stl.com/newsroom.

About Sherman Silber, MD:
Sherman Silber, MD, director of the Infertility Center of St. Louis located at St. Luke's Hospital, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in microsurgery and infertility and is one of the world's leading authorities on in vitro fertilization, vasectomy reversal, ovary transplants, the mapping and sequencing of the Y chromosome in infertile males, the preservation of fertility in cancer patients and the expansion of the reproductive lifespan of women with egg and ovary freezing. Dr. Silber's work is based at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis, M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the University of Amsterdam in Holland and clinics in Tokyo and New York.

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