Embryo freezing is a revolutionary technique that can help preserve the fertility of a woman for a longer period of time. Ovarian tissue freezing is recommended for women that will undergo treatments that may destroy the ovarian tissues, such as cancer therapy, or in women that would like to conceive when they are older (over the age of 40). The success rates of ovarian tissue and conception following such a procedure are high.
Candidates for Ovarian Tissue Freezing
Ovarian tissue freezing is recommended for women that would like to conceive a baby but will undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These treatments will most likely destroy the ovarian tissues and the eggs, making conception impossible after the cancer is treated. Other candidates for ovarian tissue freezing include:
- Women over the age of 30 or 35 that are planning to have children but would like to delay motherhood for more than 10 years. This is due to the fact that the woman's ovaries will get older and after the age of 40, the chances of conception decrease dramatically.
- Women with aplastic anemia or lupus, while treatment is administered, as the treatment may affect the ovarian tissues.
Freezing the ovarian tissue will protect it from radiation, chemotherapy or aging, making the tissues available when the woman is ready to start a family.
How Ovarian Tissue Freezing Is Performed
Ovarian tissue freezing is a delicate procedure that can be performed by a fertility doctor. Typically only one ovary will be removed from the patient, as it can be entirely removed without hurting the reproductive system. The ovaries contain the eggs, which will also be frozen in the process.
After the ovary is removed, the ovarian tissues will be carefully dissected. Microsurgery is used, as precision cuts will be required. The ovarian tissues will then be frozen and kept for as long as the women chooses, or until after the chemo or radiation therapy is over and the woman is ready to conceive.
The freezing process will be gradual and constantly monitored by a computer. The computer will maintain a constant temperature, so that the ovarian tissues and the eggs will not be damaged. When the woman is ready to start a family, the frozen tissues will be gradually thawed and then transplanted back using surgery.
In women with cancer, the ovarian tissues will have to be tested for tumors. This will ensure that when transplanted, they won't cause cancerous tumors.
Ovarian tissue freezing will allow a woman be fertile again. Theoretically, the chances of conceiving after the transplantation of the ovarian tissue are approximately equal to the chances of conceiving prior to the freezing process. If the ovarian tissue and the eggs have been deteriorated due to a mishandling or an accident, the woman may not be able to conceive.