Research into the success of ovarian cryopreservation – or ovarian freezing as it is better known – has grown to promising levels in a recent study
According to the authors of the report in the journal Reproductive Sciences, the procedure has been shown to have a 40 per cent success rate, and is mainly carried out on women who have had a cancer diagnosis.
The treatment involves removing all or part of an ovary, then slicing tissue from top layers of the ovary to freeze. The tissue is frozen in liquid nitrogen and when the patient is ready, the tissue is then re-implanted, with the hope that eggs will start to reproduce.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy is known to make women infertile and preserving fertility is key when given a cancer diagnosis.
The study looked at over 300 women who had the procedure between 1999 and 2016.
The results showed that 37 per cent of women had a child after freezing their ovarian tissue
A US woman who had the procedure at the age of 28 in 2001 went on to have three healthy children after being diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Annie Daura was told she did not have time to have the more traditional treatment offered to women who are at risk of becoming infertile, egg freezing, as it would take weeks of hormone treatment – time she just did not have.
She instead was referred to Professor Kutluk Oktay, from the Yale School of Medicine and one of the pioneers of ovary freezing in the US, and within days was having the surgery in the hope it would preserve her fertility in years to come.
Annie has taken part in a podcast as part of her journey, entitled Fronads, which a part of the Radiolab media company, set up in 2002 to investigate the world of science.
After successfully beating cancer, she went on to have three children with her husband, Greg, who has now had a vasectomy.
Oktay told The Daily Beast he is amazed with the progress he’s seen in the last two decades. “About 15 years ago, the procedure was completely theoretical,” he said. “And now we’re talking about a procedure that has a consistent success rate, and gives hope to a lot of cancer survivors.”
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