Thirty-six-year-old Vali Creus, of Victoria, Australia, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 19. But she didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a mother, news.com.au reported.

Following her diagnosis, surgeons removed one of Creus’ ovaries and froze the other, which would be thawed several years later.

Doctors grafted that stored ovarian tissue into Creus’ abdomen, and, three years later, Creus made history after becoming the first woman to give birth using the fertility method.

Today, 14 months later, she and her husband, Dean, are celebrating life with their new twin daughters, Alexis and Kaia. Doctors told her she cannot have any more children, but Creus is grateful for the two she has.

“It’s amazing,” Creus told news.com.au. “Our whole lives have changed.”

Thanks to the operation, Creus is also now free of cancer. When Creus’ daughters were born via caesarian section, surgeons found that her cancer had returned and they removed it.

“Without them, I may not have known the cancer came back,” she said.

Creus’ doctor, Kate Stern, of the IVF Fertility Preservation Service, said that following Creus’ procedure she used a similar method to help another woman become pregnant.  

According to news.com.au, scientists at Melbourne IVF and the Royal Women’s Hospital are researching other potential methods to help women affected by cancer become pregnant.

Grafting tissue has the risk of containing residual cancer cells, so researchers are attempting to grow tiny eggs from ovarian tissue in the lab.

“It’s no longer just a theoretical possibly,” Stern said. “The reality for women is that they can have their own children after cancer treatment.”

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