Mother, 39, gives birth to her ‘miracle’ fourth child despite having her fallopian tubes removed

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A woman has given birth to a ‘miracle baby’ after getting pregnant despite having no fallopian tubes.

Elizabeth Kough, 39, had both the tubes connecting her ovaries to her womb removed in cancer-prevention surgery four years ago.

But despite missing this key part of her reproductive system, Ms Kough managed to become pregnant with her fourth child, Benjamin.

Benjamin was born weighing seven pounds six ounces in March this year – and surgeons even checked during the birth to make sure her tubes had been removed.

However, one expert today told MailOnline it is impossible to remove them completely and the sperm and egg may still be able to meet in a tiny part left over.

A 39-year-old mother of four became pregnant with her fourth child despite having both fallopian tubes surgically removed in 2015 to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, which runs in her family (stock image)

A 39-year-old mother of four became pregnant with her fourth child despite having both fallopian tubes surgically removed in 2015 to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, which runs in her family (stock image)

Ms Kough, a divorced former Marine from Kansas City, Missouri, thought she had been left infertile by an operation in 2015, the Kansas City Star reported.

After having three children already, now aged between nine and 17, Ms Kough had her fallopian tubes removed to reduce her cancer risk.

Ovarian cancer runs in her family and the operation, which is also an almost flawless method of contraception, could lower her odds of getting the disease.

The procedure – called a bilateral salpingectomy – in theory makes natural pregnancy impossible. Eggs are usually fertilised by sperm inside a fallopian tube.

It would still be possible to get pregnant using IVF, in which an already-fertilised egg is implanted into the womb, but Ms Kough didn’t have the procedure. 

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And scientists have found women can, in very rare cases, become pregnant if part of the tube is left behind or another opening is created in the uterus wall.

HOW COULD A WOMAN GET PREGNANT WITHOUT FALLOPIAN TUBES? 

Normally when a woman becomes pregnant the egg is fertilised in the fallopian tube and then travels into the womb to grow into an embryo.

Although rare, there are records of women getting pregnant even though they don’t have fallopian tubes, which carry eggs out of the ovaries. 

Davor Jurkovic, a consultant gynaecologist at University College Hospital in London, England, revealed it is not possible to completely remove the fallopian tubes during surgery.

He said: ‘It is not possible to remove the tubes completely at surgery as a part of them is passing through the uterine muscle and therefore it has to be left behind.

‘It is very likely that the end of one of her tubes has re-opened after surgery. 

‘This would have allowed the sperm to enter the abdominal cavity and fertilise the egg after it had been released from the ovary.’

Other scientific papers have suggested surgery could leave small openings which join the ovary and womb in a way other than the fallopian tube, which could allow sperm to leak out of the uterus, or eggs to move into it – either of which could result in pregnancy. 

Dr Hana Visnova, director at the IVF Cube fertility clinic in Prague, said an egg may be able to bypass the space between an ovary and uterus if the two were close together and the tube removal wound didn’t properly heal after surgery. 

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This is called transperitoneal migration, a procedure in which the egg or sperm travels through the space inside the abdomen – the peritoneal cavity.

‘I was kind of floored, like how does this happen?’ Ms Kough told the Kansas City Star. ‘And they said, “Well, it’s probably a botched surgery.”‘

After Benjamin was born by c-section, Ms Kough’s surgeons even checked to make sure her fallopian tubes had definitely been removed.

‘They said, “No there’s nothing there. The surgeon did everything correctly. There’s no tubes.” So, he truly was a miracle baby.’

However, a gynaecologist at University College Hospital in London, England, revealed the entire fallopian tube cannot be removed during surgery.

‘It is not possible to remove the tubes completely at surgery as a part of them is passing through the uterine muscle and therefore it has to be left behind,’ said Davor Jurkovic.

‘It is very likely that the end of one of her tubes has re-opened after surgery. 

‘This would have allowed the sperm to enter the abdominal cavity and fertilise the egg after it had been released from the ovary.’

Mr Jurkovic said in most cases this would lead to an ectopic pregnancy, with the baby developing outside of the womb, but this did not appear to be the case with Ms Kough.

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‘What is very unusual in this case is that the fertilised egg also managed to entered the open tubal remnant from the abdominal side and implant normally within the uterine cavity. This has to be an exceptionally rare event indeed.’ 

Dr Hana Visnova, the director of the IVF Cube clinic in Prague, added the egg may be able to pass into the uterus through an opening left after surgery.

She said: ‘I’ve never seen a case like this – it’s unbelievable.

‘It’s difficult to explain but if the ovary was very close to the uterus it’s possible an egg was able to bypass the space between them through the suture left after surgery.’

Ms Kough first realised she was pregnant when she felt the way she had with her three previous children, and she used a pregnancy test at home to check.

She tested positive and told her boyfriend – the father – to drive her to the hospital where doctors confirmed she was carrying a child.

Despite the couple’s shock at conceiving their son under almost impossible circumstances, they are now settling into life as parents.

‘I don’t know if he was just a medical miracle and a one-in-a-million chance, or if he was absolutely meant to be,’ Ms Kough told the Kansas City Star.

‘I don’t know about the greater universe and God’s plan for us. But I do know that he’s definitely very special. Special to me and to our family.’



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