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Future of Fertility Preservation? Ovarian Tissue Freezing

Could ovarian tissue freezing be the future of fertility preservation?

Could ovarian tissue freezing be the future of fertility preservation?Our San Antonio fertility specialists offer fertility preservation to men and women who are preparing to undergo cancer treatment. Egg, sperm and embryo freezing are the oncofertility options now, but another procedure has been featured in the news—ovarian tissue freezing.

Ovarian tissue freezing in the news

A 25-year-old cancer survivor recently received an ovarian transplant, thanks to ovarian tissue freezing. The ovarian tissue had been frozen a decade before, and the young woman and her physicians hope that transplanting it will allow her to start a family now.

This innovative procedure combines the complex disciplines of reproductive medicine, cellular biology and surgery to create a new form of female fertility preservation.

  • The process begins before a woman undergoes cancer treatment, when a fertility specialist surgically removes her ovary or ovaries.
  • Laboratory professionals cut the ovarian tissue to create thin grafts, which are then treated with a cryoprotectant to prevent ice-crystal formation.
  • The laboratory places each graft in a small vial and then into canisters, which are then placed in a liquid nitrogen chamber.
  • Through the use of a slow-freezing process, the temperature in the chamber drops to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. The ovarian tissue can remain safely frozen until the woman is ready to use it, and the fertility specialist uses robotic surgery to perform an ovarian transplant.

Still experimental

The most-recent ovarian transplant in the news was performed at NYU Winthrop Hospital, but the first procedure was performed nearly two decades ago. Since the early 2000s, about 90 babies have been born via such transplants.

According to San Antonio fertility specialist Erika Munch MD, “Ovarian tissue freezing is still an experimental form of fertility preservation. The team at Texas Fertility Center – San Antonio is committed to providing effective oncofertility solutions, and we continue to study and implement new developments in the field.”

If you have questions about fertility preservation with our San Antonio fertility specialists, please contact us.

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