I feel happy when I can solve a patient’s problem quickly, comfortably and efficiently. My surgical operations inside the uterus have helped many women, who were predetermined to use surrogacy due to the extent of damage in their uteruses, to carry their children in their own wombs. But, surgical treatment alone is not enough – menstrual cycles after surgery are very important to stimulate endometrial growth and to help endometrial cells win over the scar tissue“
Dr. Elena Lapina has created the first baby in Russia after ovarian tissue transplantation in a cancer patient (after chemo- and X-Ray therapy)
Dr. Elena Lapina received her education at the “State Medical Academy”, in the beautiful Russian city of Yaroslavl. Elena completed her education with honors in 1998, and went on to study and specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1998-2000. Elena´s clinical interest was then drawn to endoscopic surgery in gynecology, and from 2000 Elena has worked as a fertility surgeon at the largest state hospital in St. Petersburg (N2) and since 2004 as fertility surgeon and fertility specialist in AVA-Peter Clinic and since 2019 in O.L.G.A. Fertility Clinic.
Dr. Elena has completed multiple endoscopy and surgery courses in Russia and abroad, and has become one of the leading gynecological surgeons in Russia.
Among her specializations:
- Courses in Ultrasonography in St. Petersburg State University in 2004
- Courses in Hysterosocpy and Endovideosurgery at Medical Academy of Postgraduate studies in St. Petersburg in 2004
- A course in Uterine fibroid embolization by International Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society in 2006
- Advanced Techniques in Gynecological Endoscopy, Centre International De Chirurgie Endoscopique In 2010.
Elena's surgical approach to women´s health is always carried out with two main focuses; eliminating disease, whether it be endometriosis, fibroids, or cancer, as well as preserving fertility at the same time. Elena has always kept in mind that her patient may want to become a mother in the future, whether she is 30, 40 or 50.
In 2007 Elena completed her PHD with her thesis devoted to the topic of pregnancy in women with hereditary thrombophilia.
Since then Elena has worked as a fertility specialist at AVA-Peter Clinic, in its international department, together with Dr Olga Zaytseff and Dr Alena Egorova. And from 2019 Elena, Olga and Alena, still working together, have started a new O.L.G.A. Fertility Clinic.
Not surprisingly Elena soon became fascinated by the idea of preserving own eggs for women undergoing X-ray and chemotherapy treatment due to cancer. X-ray and chemotherapy helps to eliminate cancer, but sadly destroy egg reserves in the woman’s ovaries. If some eggs, or tissue from the woman’s ovaries, are frozen before X-Ray and chemotherapy, they can be used in the future to create a pregnancy with the woman's own egg, in her own uterus, after she is fully recovered.
In 2014 Dr. Elena made it possible, for the first time in Russia, for a woman to give birth after ovarian tissue transplantation. Elena surgically removed and froze ovarian tissue from the patient before she underwent chemotherapy and X-ray therapy, then transplanted the tissue back into the patient’s ovary after she was cured from her cancer. Elena then performed ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval and embryo transfer. The circle was closed and the first baby in Russia was born this way!
Today, Dr. Elena is also helping women with Asherman Syndrome, these women are usually predetermined to use a surrogate mother rather than their own uterus to carry their child. Elena has developed very fine methods of operating in the uterine cavity and also incorporates specific medication to stimulate endometrial growth after the operation, enabling them to carry their own child in the future.
Elena has produced more than 20 scientific publications and the key topic of her clinical and scientific interest is recurrent implantation failures and early pregnancy loss.
Elena is married and has two lovely children.
Dr. Elena Lapina about the very first baby in Russia she has created via ovarian tissue transplantation in a cancer patient in 2014:
On the one hand, this is treatment — challenging, cutting-edge and still experimental - but just treatment. On the other hand, this is a story of a young woman called Dasha. A story that began with a heartbreaking sorrowful event.
In the year 2009, Dasha received the shocking news that she had Hodgkin's lymphoma. Unfortunately, the first-line treatment was not effective, and the situation was getting worse.
In 2011, Dasha needed to undergo high-dose chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation. She was told by medical specialists that this kind of chemotherapy leads to 100% loss of follicles in the ovaries and therefore results in infertility.
All things considered, someone would just give up and sink into despair, but Dasha never did. She found a medical center that specialized in fertility preservation in patients with cancer. As the treatment had to be started at the earliest opportunity, it was not possible to do ovarian stimulation to freeze the oocytes at that time. Dasha was offered the only other alternative left, which was taking her ovarian tissue through laparoscopy and preserving it to transplant later.
Dasha’s chemotherapy went successfully, and already by 2012 it was clear that soon it will be possible to perform a frozen ovarian tissue auto-transplantation.
At that time, no expert in Russia practiced such surgeries. Moreover, there were only about 40 children in the entire world that were born as a long-term result of this surgery. I was invited to work on this experimental project as a surgeon and a fertility specialist.
It turned out that we had a great deal of work to do all by ourselves. Of course, there were medical articles on that matter and actual birth cases were reported at international conferences, but the details of working with ovarian tissue and the transplantation procedure itself were very scarcely described. Together with a dedicated embryologist, we devoted the entire year to working on thawing and developing details of a transplant, carefully and precisely. As we were figuring the technicalities, we were also gradually speeding up, sharpening our skills even more.
As a result, when in 2013 Dasha's oncologist finally gave the permission for the transplantation and pregnancy, our surgery went flawlessly, steady and accurately. No complications were reported afterwards, and in 27 weeks after the procedure, Dasha’s ovaries were working again, with her hormonal levels back to normal.
To this point in her treatment, Dasha was already married, and her husband was always there for her. This was when they decided to expand their lovely family with a child. A half a year passed, and we were ready to help Dasha get pregnant. After the IVF treatment in a modified natural cycle, her pregnancy was achieved and it continued without complications. In July 2015, Dasha gave birth to a healthy baby girl on the estimated due date.
That was not all: in 2017, the wonders continued and Dasha conceived naturally! After all these struggles with an awful disease, her beautiful family received one more heavenly gift—another baby!
Living life to the fullest is a dream of every patient who had been fighting cancer and finally won. For young men and women this idea includes having their own child. And we are by their side to fulfill this dream!
@ivf_mother_after_40 about Dr. Elena:
The fantastic Dr.Elena Lapina! Sharp brains & a big warm heart. In August 2019 she performed my embryo transfer with donor eggs, =putting our baby inside me. And I am now 38 weeks pregnant. You see, it wasn't just WHAT she did but also HOW. I could feel how genuinely invested she was, with her full heart & mind in it. I felt so safe! Every morning when I wake up, I think of how privileged I am, to have had the opportunity to seek & receive help from this amazing clinic and staff. True miracle makers. I can never thank you all enough. And of course I hope you will get through these tough corona-times. For you. And for the rest of us. We need you.