Over the years, there has been consistent improvement in reproductive technology, with constant efforts to resolve female infertility issues. The most experimental amongst these technologies are the ones which involve preservation of female fertility. Egg freezing and embryo freezing are regarded as the best options for those who want to slow down their biological clock. These also work well for cancer patients who fear losing their ovarian function due to treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
Ovarian tissue freezing is a relatively new technique that has been devised for fertility preservation of women. As the name suggests, ovarian tissue freezing refers to cryopreservation of the tissue from the ovaries. Originally developed for cancer patients, this revolutionary technique is now being used for women who want to postpone pregnancy indefinitely. Similarly, it can be used for women with genetic disorders and those at high risk of early menopause.
When is ovarian tissue freezing a feasible solution?
Preserving their fertility for the future is a big issue for cancer patients before they begin with therapeutic treatments. Their fertility is at stake as the ovaries are most likely to get damaged with radiation and chemotherapy. Egg freezing may be seen as a feasible alternative but the hitch is that it may delay the cancer treatment. Additionally, hormonal therapy is not always regarded safe for cancer patients. The egg cryopreservation process requires ovarian stimulation before egg retrieval. This takes time as well as requires hormonal therapy. This makes ovarian tissue freezing a better option for them.
On the other hand, women can rely on this technique as a substitute of egg freezing for delaying motherhood. The chances of conception dwindle with age, which is a major concern for women who do not want to conceive till middle age. This happens due to diminishing number and quality of eggs. Egg freezing is the conventional method used for preserving their fertility, but ovarian tissue freezing is emerging as an innovative solution. The fact is that ovarian tissue is a source of thousands of viable eggs as compared to a few harvested during egg freezing.
Understanding the Process
Female ovaries are responsible for producing the oocytes, which reside in the outer layers of the ovaries. The inside is made of blood vessels, which perform the sole function of nourishing the oocytes. Therefore, removing and freezing only a part of the peripheral tissue is enough to preserve the female fertility. The ovarian tissue freezing procedure involves a minimally invasive surgery to harvest small samples of tissue from the woman’s ovaries.
The samples are then preserved at a very low temperature. Once the patient is done with her cancer treatment and wants to conceive, the tissue is transplanted in her body to take over the fertility process. The tissue is grafted either at the original location of the ovary or at an alternative one. The strips of ovarian tissue are secured with fine sutures. These are accepted by the body as healthy blood supply is restored to them.
Gradually, the normal reproductive function is restored within a few months after the tissue transplant. As the ovarian tissue starts producing healthy oocytes, there are good chances for natural conception. In more complicated cases, there is an option of resorting to assisted techniques such as IVF treatment.
While there are many ways in which ovarian tissue freezing is regarded as a revolutionary technique, it has a downside too. The treatment is quite expensive and complicated. Theoretically, there is a risk of the tissue carrying cancer cells of the patient. When it is transplanted in the woman’s body, the cancer may relapse. However, there is no established proof of this theory. The technology is still in its evolutionary stages with only a few live births recorded till date. Yet it holds great promise for those looking for fertility preservation.
Gaudium IVF is one of the best IVF clinics in Delhi where patients can avail effective treatment, counseling and support for diverse infertility issues. The clinic offers high-quality advanced infertility techniques at affordable costs.
For more advice or a free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the top infertility specialist in Delhi, book an appointment today.