Feasibility of ovarian tissue cryopreservation for prepubertal females with cancer.
Loss of fertility is one of the long-term adverse effects of high-dose chemotherapy or total body irradiation for cancer, even in children. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC) may make it possible for survivors of childhood cancer to have children. We evaluated the feasibility of this technique for prepubertal girls. Between September 2000 and February 2005, 49 prepubertal girls were referred to the Reproductive Biology Unit for OTC before sterilizing treatment. One ovary each was collected from 47 patients, by laparoscopy in 24 patients and laporotomy in the others. In 16 cases, the ovary was harvested during laparotomy to resect a residual abdominal tumor. No complications occurred after operations. Ovarian tissue was frozen by a slow-cooling protocol, using DMSO and sucrose as cryoprotectants. An mean of 17.6 +/- 6.5 ovarian tissue fragments was cryopreserved per patient. Follicle concentration was evaluated histologically for 46 patients and a strong correlation was found between age and follicular density. None of the cases had visible ovarian tumor components. Ovarian cryopreservation was not carried out for two patients. The cryopreservation of ovarian tissue could be systematically offered even to prepubertal girls at risk of sterility due to gonadotoxic treatment.