Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC), is a suitable fertility preservation option for young girls who have not gone through puberty and young women (typically <30 years) who cannot undergo ovarian stimulation due to their medical condition and/or time constraints. The main reason that girls/women are advised to cryopreserve tissue is to preserve fertility before cancer treatment or starting medications that negatively impact ovarian function.
In this procedure, ovarian tissue (an entire ovary or portion of an ovary) is surgically removed (typically through a minimally-invasive procedure called a laparoscopy) prior to starting radiation or chemotherapy. The outer portion of the ovarian tissue is cut into very thin slices and then cryopreserved. At a later date when the woman wants to conceive, the ovarian tissue slices can be warmed and reimplanted back into the patient (usually the pelvis). Ovarian tissue maintains viability even after decades in cryostorage, if properly maintained. When the transplanted tissue becomes functional, typically within 6 months from surgery, the woman may be able to conceive spontaneously or with in vitro fertilization.
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is approved for clinical use and over 200 live births have been reported worldwide with this procedure. However, there are only few institutions who offer it in the United States. Fortunately, it is available at Baylor Medicine.
If you and your oncologist are considering ovarian tissue cryopreservation, please schedule a consultation with a Baylor Medicine reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, who would be happy to talk through the process as you and your oncologist decide if it is right for you.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Family Fertility Center at 832-826-7272.