Freezing of ovarian tissue and clinical opportunities

Abstract

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC) is mainly used for fertility preservation in girls and women facing a gonadotoxic treatment. If the woman subsequently becomes menopausal, the ovarian tissue may be transplanted to regain ovarian function, including fertility. The method was developed more than two decades ago and today thousands of women worldwide have undergone OTC. Fewer than 500 patients have had tissue transplanted and close to 100% of those regain ovarian function. Several technical aspects of OTC are now becoming more established, including high quantitative follicle survival, defining the size of the tissue resulting in optimal tissue re-vascularisation and follicle loss resulting from transport of ovarian tissue prior to freezing. We have used OTC to safeguard fertility in patients with genetic diseases, which for some diagnoses is purely experimental, as no transplantations has yet been performed. Usage of OTC beyond fertility is now also being considered; here the endocrine function of follicles is the focus. It has been suggested that ovarian tissue stored in the reproductive years may be used to avoid premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) when there is a familial disposition or to postpone menopause in patients with an increased risk of osteoporosis or cardiovascular diseases. The benefit of OTC beyond fertility requires, however, actual clinical studies. The current review includes several recent technical aspects with contributions from Denmark building on some of the early work by Roger Gosden.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReproduction (Cambridge, England)
ISSN1470-1626
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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