Research from a team at Nottingham University at the "Fertility 2019" conference presented some interesting results about uterine cryopreservation, which, considering recent reports on the success of uterine transplants, may be a viable option for uterine banking in the future. Author Dr Juan Hernandez-Medrano (pictured here) published a poster on the "Evaluation of tissue after uterine cryopreservation following a slow freezing protocol" where he was looking into possibilities for uterine freezing that could be an option for uterine factor infertility in patients. Currently, cold ischaemic storage is the preservation strategy between retrieval and transplantation. Cryopreservation offers the possibility of storage allowing a longer window between surgical procedures, provided tissue viability.
In the project, ovine uterine horns were dissected, perfused with cold heparinised saline followed by cryoprotectant and frozen using a Planer controlled-rate freezer with the method reported for ovarian cryopreservation by Campbell et al., 2014. The study showed that following cryopreservation, uterine tissue retains its functional characteristics (myometrial contractility and endometrial endocrine activity) but at a reduced rate though - potentially due to increased tissue damage as indicated by elevated lactate dehydrogenase release.
Dr Hernandez-Medrano mentions that this a pilot study and follow-up experiments are expected to improve on the above results which are encouraging and indicate that improvement of cryopreservation protocols taking account of infusion rate/time and the freezing rate might one day allow uterine tissue banking and transplantation in human patients.
This study was carried out in collaboration with Dr R Robinson from the Vet School at Nottingham University and Prof B Campbell. Konnary V, Robinson R, Campbell BK and Hernandez-Medrano JH. Evaluation of tissue after uterine cryopreservation following a slow freezing protocol. Fertility Conference 2019, ICC Birmingham, 3rd-5thJanuary 2019 https://tinyurl.com/ydggxdof
Fertility 2019, held in Birmingham on 3rd January, was the Joint Conference of the Association of Clinical Embryologists, British Fertility Society and the Society for Reproduction & Fertility which Planer were proud to attend showing their latest benchtop incubator and wireless alarm systems as well as the full controlled rate freezer range.