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What is Ovarian cortex freezing?

It is also known as ovarian tissue cryopreservation
It is a fertility preservation technique that involves the removal and freezing of a small piece of a woman’s ovarian tissue.
The tissue containing immature eggs (oocytes) for future use in assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Some key points to know about ovarian cortex freezing:

  • Procedure:
  • The procedure involves a surgical intervention to remove a portion of the outer layer of one or both ovaries, known as the ovarian cortex, which contains primordial follicles containing immature eggs. The surgery can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopy, under general anesthesia.

  • Fertility Preservation:
  • Ovarian cortex freezing is typically offered to women who are facing treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, which may impair their fertility or cause premature ovarian failure. By preserving ovarian tissue before undergoing such treatments, women may have the option to restore their fertility and have biological children in the future.

  • Young Age:
  • Ovarian cortex freezing is often recommended for prepubertal girls, adolescents, or young women who have not yet established a family but are at risk of losing ovarian function due to medical treatments or conditions.

  • Tissue Processing:
  • After removal, the ovarian cortex tissue is processed in the laboratory to isolate and freeze the primordial follicles containing immature eggs. The tissue is typically divided into small pieces and cryopreserved using a freezing solution to protect the cells from damage during the freezing process.

  • Storage:
  • The frozen ovarian cortex tissue is stored in cryogenic storage tanks filled with liquid nitrogen at ultra-low temperatures, where it can be preserved for many years. When the woman is ready to use the preserved tissue for fertility treatment, it can be thawed, and the immature eggs can be matured and fertilized through IVF.

  • Experimental Technique:
  • Ovarian cortex freezing is still considered an experimental fertility preservation technique, and its success rates may vary. While some women have successfully achieved pregnancies and live births using thawed ovarian tissue, further research is needed to optimize the technique and improve outcomes.

  • Consultation:
  • Women considering ovarian cortex freezing should consult with a fertility specialist to discuss their options, understand the risks and benefits of the procedure, and make informed decisions about their reproductive health. It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the potential implications of ovarian tissue cryopreservation, including the possibility of reintroducing ovarian tissue and the associated risks.

    Overall, ovarian cortex freezing offers a promising option for fertility preservation in women facing certain medical conditions or treatments that may affect their ovarian function. However, it’s important to carefully consider all factors and consult with healthcare professionals before undergoing the procedure.

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