Rachel Brown of BioNews reports a large Danish study, just out in Human Reproduction, which claims ovarian tissue transplants to be safe and that they can restore fertility in women who have undergone treatment for cancer;  around one in three procedures in young women leading to live births. The study reviews the outcomes of 41 Danish women with a total of 53 transplants of thawed ovarian tissue.  Of the 32 women who had received ovarian transplants to become pregnant, 21 obtained at least one positive pregnancy test. The findings " ... show grafted ovarian tissue is effective in restoring ovarian function in a safe manner. In this series of women, the pregnancy rate was about 30 percent,' said Dr Annette Jensen, from Copenhagen, lead author on the study.

Ovarian transplantation programmes have been available in Denmark since 2000, allowing women who are undergoing treatment for cancer to freeze the tissue of one of their ovaries free of charge. The thawed tissue can then be transplanted back, either to the remaining ovary or elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Since its introduction over 800 women have had their ovarian tissue frozen. One of the concerns of ovarian transplantation is that it could cause the cancer that prompted its removal to return. However, the study reported that although three patients did experience a relapse of cancer, none of these were related to the transplantation of ovarian tissue, and therefore the procedure is considered to be safe. The transplanted tissue has been functional for over ten years in three women, eight years in six women, and more than five years in 15 women. The remaining patients have had transplanted tissue for between six months and five years. 'The full functional lifespan of grafts is still being evaluated because many of these women have ovaries that are continuing to function,' said Dr Jensen.

The classic standard for the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue is slow freezing and Planer equipment has been at the forefront of this ovarian tissue freezing process, with many successful pregnancies - including the latest reported by  Dr Isabella Demeestere in Belgium who describes the procedure for freezing the tissue in Human Reproduction journal March 2006  - http://m.humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/8/2010.full 

Read the article in BioNews

The full study available a

Photo shows Ms Touirat and Tamara - the first baby born from frozen tissue, 2004


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