Cancer and cancer treatment can delay or halt fertility and many patients have had to make big health decisions around their diagnosis. For women, this often means making a choice to freeze their eggs (oocyte vitrification) before treatment begins but for some patients, egg freezing procedures may not be recommended. Enter a ground-breaking treatment (Wijnland has been offering it since 2008) that offers another alternative.
Ovarian Tissue Freezing is when a graft of the ovarian lining is taken from the patient and frozen. The tissue contains thousands of eggs, and can be transplanted back into the ovary once the patient is in remission. It does require a small surgical procedure but it can be performed immediately allowing little delay in the commencement of treatment for the cancer, making it an ideal option for advanced cancer stages.
It’s the only mode of fertility preservation that could result in a return to normal ovarian function, the female hormones can return to the site of the transplant and function can be restored for several years dependent on the reserve of eggs that were naturally present at the time of the graft. It is also the only fertility preservation technique that allows for spontaneous conception, egg freezing requires ART or IVF to complete conception.
Ovarian tissue freezing is an important option for young female cancer patients, especially those younger than 18, where performing ovarian stimulation to retrieve eggs is not ideal. The treatment is also suited to patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancer, blood cancer and a forecast of low ovarian reserve.
Tissue freezing can be used as an additional preservation treatment to expand the number of eggs preserved. Wijnland also offers an extensive egg freezing programme and we can advise as to which option is best suited to you.