Revolutionary cryopreservation method developed to protect fertility ahead of cancer therapy

Cryopreservation of Ovarian Tissue: A Breakthrough in Fertility Preservation

A woman’s egg reserve is finite, making gonad-damaging therapies a major concern for those facing infertility due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy. One of the innovative solutions for preserving fertility is the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue. This process involves removing and freezing a portion of the ovary before undergoing gonadotoxic therapy, allowing the undamaged eggs to be reimplanted into the body at a later time.

Since 2004, several international groups have achieved successful pregnancies following the cryopreservation, thawing, and retransplantation of ovarian tissue. The key to the success of this method lies in the cryopreservation process, particularly in the technique of slow freezing. However, traditional slow freezing methods still present challenges as they may result in the formation of ice crystals that could damage the tissue.

To overcome this limitation, researchers have turned to a more advanced technique known as vitrification. By rapidly freezing tissue samples at ultra-low temperatures, ice crystal formation is prevented, resulting in a vitrified sample that retains the integrity of the cells. This breakthrough has been widely applied in the cryopreservation of human embryos and egg cells, proving to be highly effective in preserving the viability of the tissue.

In a recent study by a team of researchers from the University Hospital of Bonn (UKB), led by Prof. Nicole Sänger, Dr. Andreas Schallmoser, and Dr. Rebekka Einenkel, the positive impact of vitrification on the vitality of oocytes and their environment was demonstrated. Additionally, the release of vasculogenic substances critical for successful retransplantation was significantly enhanced with the use of vitrification compared to slow freezing methods.

A major milestone was achieved with the first successful birth in Europe after the retransplantation of vitrified, rapidly warmed ovarian tissue. This achievement not only highlights the potential of vitrification in fertility preservation but also underscores the advanced capabilities of the UKB’s Reproductive Medicine Laboratory. The groundbreaking research on vitrification and thawing of human tissue and cells has positioned the center as a leader in offering cutting-edge fertility treatments.

The research findings have been published in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online, marking a significant advancement in the field of fertility preservation. With this breakthrough, patients facing fertility challenges due to medical treatments now have a promising option for preserving their reproductive potential.

For more information on this groundbreaking research, the published paper can be accessed here: [Link to the journal article].

This study was conducted by the University Hospital of Bonn (UKB), highlighting their commitment to advancing fertility preservation techniques and providing the highest level of care for patients seeking fertility treatments.

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