A diagnosis of childhood cancer will send any family through a range of emotions. Many families are surprised to learn that in addition to dealing with cancer, treatment of the disease can pose a real threat to a girl’s future fertility. Fertility preservation through ovarian tissue freezing provides a means to preserve a girl’s fertility without the use of fertility medication or delaying cancer treatment.
Ovarian Tissue Freezing
Every girl is born with all of the eggs she will ever have. Those eggs remain immature until a girl enters puberty and her ovaries begin to mature an egg for ovulation. A number of factors can impact the health of the eggs, including cancer treatment. Some treatments can damage the eggs to the point that becoming pregnant with natural eggs can become difficult, if not impossible. Ovarian tissue freezing directly addresses this risk.
Before they are matured, the eggs are located on the outer layer of the ovaries. During ovarian tissue freezing, sections of the outer layer – or an entire ovary – are removed. The harvested ovarian tissue will house hundreds of eggs. The tissue is then divided into smaller sections, frozen, and stored until the girl completes treatment, grows up, and enters puberty. At this point, the harvested ovarian tissue may be transplanted back into the girl’s body. The transplanted ovarian tissue will then behave as normal. She will ovulate once per month and will have the ability to become pregnant naturally. Another option is to mature the eggs in a laboratory setting for use during in vitro fertilization.
Choosing Fertility Preservation
The process of fertility preservation via ovarian tissue freezing can be done relatively quickly. There is no need to wait for fertility medication and a girl does not need to have entered puberty. This means that girls who must start treatment quickly have an option to preserve their fertility so that they can have their own biological children in the future.
For additional information on fertility preservation options during cancer treatment, contact a member of the New Hope Fertility Center team. Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676. Thank you.