Ovarian Tissue Freezing
Ovarian tissue transfer, a new and cutting edge method of fertility preservation, has recently been making headlines. As an alternative to many fertility care options, women who hope to extend their ability to have kids later in life can now freeze sections of their ovarian tissue as a way to effectively stop their biological clock for use at a later time.
The procedure, which is still quite new, is extremely promising. 20 babies have already been delivered from women who have chosen to freeze their ovarian tissue, many more women have already successfully frozen ovarian tissue. In some cases the entire ovary may now be transplanted.
There are three major groups of women who may want to consider extending their fertility:
1) Women who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that necessitates the removal of their ovaries or who are undergoing some kind of medical treatment, like chemotherapy, that may damage their reproductive system
2) Women who are in the latter half of their middle reproductive years (33-38) who want to defer childbearing either because it is not the right time in their life or they are still looking for a partner
3) Women who wish to donate their eggs and don’t want to go through all the hormone therapy needed to sync their cycle with the recipients’ cycles before transfer – and conversely, egg donation recipients who will, with time, be exposed to a much larger pool of donors to choose from
Amy Tucker, who underwent chemotherapy to battle cancer, is one such woman who has benefitted from an Ovarian Tissue Transfer. She was the first cancer patient in the USA able to give birth with her own ovarian tissue. Her son was born in May 2010.
There is, of course, skepticism towards the idea of Ovarian Tissue transfer – but push back often follows innovation and paradigm shifts. People once resisted the idea of IVF, and now, it is a commonplace procedure for both women and couples who wish to treat their infertility.
We have reason to believe that, with time, no one will think twice about freezing their ovarian tissue as a way to preserve their fertility. We look forward to the day when these scientific advances will pave the path to new, more advanced treatments.