Freezing ovarian tissue: a new option?

Many women consider egg freezing for future fertility, but sometimes that isn’t an option, for various reasons. A new study suggests these women may have another option: freezing the ovarian tissue itself.

According to the study, published in Reproductive Sciences, almost 40% of women who underwent the procedure were able to have children later in life.

Ovarian tissue freezing is an outpatient procedure in which the ovarian tissue is removed and frozen for later use. It is still considered experimental. The researchers examined data from 1999 to 2016, and found that 309 ovarian tissue freezing procedures resulted in 84 births and eight pregnancies that lasted beyond the first trimester. The procedure restored reproductive functions and reversed menopause in nearly two out of three women (63.9%), including either a resumed menstrual cycle, ovarian follicular growth or natural fertility. The procedure restored natural fertility in great majority of the cases: while two thirds could conceive naturally (62.3%) only about one third needed in vitro fertilization (37.6%).

“Given these recent data, ovarian tissue cryopreservation should be considered as a viable option for fertility preservation,” the study’s senior author said. “The procedure is superior to egg freezing as it can also reverse menopause and restore natural fertility.”

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