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Woman gives birth to identical twins after her ovaries were removed following cancer treatment

Callum Jones

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman gives birth to identical twins after her ovaries were removed following cancer treatment

Featured Image Credit: Northwestern Medicine

In what is a truly wonderful story, a woman has given birth to identical twins, after having her ovaries removed due to cancer treatment.

Shelly Battista, from Illinois, US, received the devastating news in 2020 that she had triple-negative breast cancer.

This came after the then 34-year-old discovered a lump while she was breastfeeding her first daughter.

Despite having no family history, Shelly was also diagnosed with the BRCA1 mutation, which brings with it an increased risk of other cancers, according to a Northwestern Medicine press release.

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Before she started treatment, Shelly had eight embryos froze as she knew she wanted to have more children.

Shelly Battista was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. Credit: Northwestern Medicine
Shelly Battista was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. Credit: Northwestern Medicine

However, the chemotherapy resulted in Shelly being diagnosed with ovarian insufficiency, a condition where ovaries stop working before the age of 40.

While she was now cancer-free, worries turned elsewhere.

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With Shelly's BRCA 1 mutation diagnosis, concerns grew about her being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, so she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes surgically removed.

One year after finishing treatment, Shelly was give the all-clear to try for a baby from the cancer transfer.

Dr. Goldman, who looked after Shelly, said: "Even without ovaries, we’re able to provide the supplemental hormones necessary for pregnancy.

"This alone is an important teaching point because many people are surprised to learn that you can use in vitro fertilization to become pregnant even if ovaries have been surgically removed or are no longer functioning."

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So, Shelly tried to get pregnant, but their first two attempts were unsuccessful, but on the third try, Shelly and husband Robert received the amazing news they were expecting.

Shelly and husband Robert's third attempt was successful! Credit: Northwestern Medicine
Shelly and husband Robert's third attempt was successful! Credit: Northwestern Medicine

And during her first ultrasound appointment, Shelly was told that she would be having identical twins.

On 9 December 2022, Shelly gave birth to little Nina and Margot at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago.

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In the Northwestern Medicine press release, Shelly said: "I’m blessed to have a medical team who let me advocate for my medical needs and the future of my family.

"It’s a true miracle. We have two babies, exactly two-years cancer-free. My heart is very full."

Meanwhile, Dr. Goldman added: "Despite a breast cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, and losing both ovaries, Shelly’s dream of having three children came true.

"One perfect embryo, frozen urgently before chemotherapy, became two beautiful baby girls. They are the reason why I care so deeply about my patients and my job."

Topics: Health, Parenting

Callum Jones
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