Ovarian tissue cryopreservation
Ask the Experts
This process is a more advanced form of fertility preservation, which, instead of preserving individual oocytes as in oocyte cryopreservation, it involves removing and preserving the oocyte-producing tissue, the ovarian cortex. This tissue is later transplanted back into the woman at a later time. The added benefit with this option is that both reproductive and endocrine functionality is preserved, meaning the transplanted tissue can produce both oocytes and the necessary female sex hormones.
This is a highly specialized procedure that is mostly recommended for:
- Young girls, adolescents and young women that have to receive surgery, chemotherapy and/radiotherapy in the context of cancer treatment.
- Individuals that are considering to undergo gender affirmation surgery.
When it is medically indicated, the ovarian tissue is thawed with specialized techniques and then, based on the medical indications and priorities of the woman, this tissue may be utilized in the following ways:
- Maturation of the ovarian follicles contained within the tissue sample outside of the body, in laboratory conditions, until they produce mature oocytes, which then may be utilized for fertilization using IVF.
- Transplantation of the collected tissue back into the body (autologous transplantation) and restoration of normal ovarian activity. At this point, pregnancy may be achieved either spontaneously, or through ART procedures.
- Transplantation of the tissues to another woman who maybe has lost her reproductive ability.