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Israeli doctors save fetus’s ovaries in ‘extremely rare’ procedure

Emergency caesarean, operation on newborn preserve baby's fertility.

Tamar Levi's daughter with Dr. Shay Porat (left), Dr. Marc Zerah (center) and another medical staffer. Credit: Hadassah Spokesperson.
Tamar Levi's daughter with Dr. Shay Porat (left), Dr. Marc Zerah (center) and another medical staffer. Credit: Hadassah Spokesperson.

Tamar Levi was in the 35th week of her pregnancy and had an ultrasound appointment. But what was supposed to be a routine test turned into an emergency caesarean section followed by an immediate operation on the newborn.

The ultrasound showed an abnormality in the abdominal cavity. After consulting with her gynecologist, Dr. Marc Zerah, Levi was rushed to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

“It was very stressful,” she said. “My mother was with me and we couldn’t understand what was going on.”

Further examination at the hospital showed that the fetus was in danger due to having cysts in both ovaries and possibly due to double Ovarian Torsion, which is when the ovaries twist on the tissues that support them. The doctor stressed that the fetus was in danger of developing problems with fertility or losing her ovaries altogether.

Unless treated, the loss of ovaries would lead to the fetus not being able to conceive in the future from her own eggs, requiring either an egg donation or hormone replacement therapy.

“A double Ovarian Torsion is extremely rare and has only been described in medical literature several times, but never in fetuses,” Dr. Shay Porat, maternal and fetal medicine specialist at Hadassah, said.

“In the examination performed on the fetus, we could clearly see that there was blood flow to her ovaries, but the flow was slow. I knew that we had to act quickly so as not to lose the ovaries. After consultation, it was decided to induce birth for Tamar and perform emergency surgery on the baby.”

Levi later described the event, saying, “The stress was huge. I prayed that it would not be too late, these were very stressful moments, but Dr. Porat did everything pleasantly and made me feel that everything was under control.

“It happened so quickly; everyone made an effort and acted quickly to save my daughter’s ovaries. Within minutes of the diagnosis, I entered for an emergency cesarean section, and immediately after that the baby was taken for surgery, and thank God everything went smoothly. I thank everyone who took care of me.”

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