Freeze ovaries and not eggs for fer­til­ity

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

WOMEN should freeze their ovaries rather than their eggs in or­der to pro­tect their fer­til­ity, ex­perts are ad­vis­ing.

More than a third of women who freeze ovar­ian tis­sue go on to have a baby, a study shows.

Its au­thors say ovary freez­ing, cur­rently avail­able in Bri­tain only for med­i­cal rea­sons, should now be looked at for healthy women too.

Al­most 4 000 women, who are afraid of run­ning out of time to have a baby, have opted for egg freez­ing – at a cost of about £5 000 (R85 000).

It in­volves re­turn­ing to a clinic for in-vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion (IVF), and those who are past the age of menopause need hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy to have a child with their own eggs.

Freez­ing ovar­ian tis­sue goes much fur­ther by of­fer­ing older women the chance to turn back the clock, re­verse their menopause and con­ceive nat­u­rally with­out fer­til­ity treat­ment.

The study by New York Med­i­cal Col­lege found al­most 38% of women had a baby af­ter ovar­ian freez­ing. Co-au­thor Dr Fer­nanda Pacheco said the pro­ce­dure was su­pe­rior to egg freez­ing as it could also re­verse menopause and re­store nat­u­ral fer­til­ity.

“The next fron­tier is to ex­plore the pro­ce­dure’s po­ten­tial in de­lay­ing child­bear­ing among healthy women,” she said.

US re­searchers ex­am­ined ev­ery case of ovar­ian tis­sue freez­ing between 1999 and Oc­to­ber last year.

Women up to the age of 40 gave birth to 84 chil­dren af­ter 309 freez­ing pro­ce­dures, with eight hav­ing more than one child us­ing frozen ovar­ian tis­sue.

Al­most two out of three women were able to re­verse their menopause or re­store their re­pro­duc­tive func­tion. Close to two-thirds were able to con­ceive nat­u­rally.

Only about one-third needed IVF. This is be­cause frozen ovar­ian tis­sue con­tains im­ma­ture eggs, which grow into ma­ture eggs when it is placed in a woman’s body. Ovar­ian tis­sue was kept, on av­er­age, for just over two years in the cases an­a­lysed.

Re­spond­ing to the find­ings, Dr Me­lanie Davies at Lon­don’s Univer­sity Col­lege Hos­pi­tal said the long-term out­comes of tis­sue freez­ing “are still not known”, while egg freez­ing was “proven”.

“Ovar­ian tis­sue freez­ing is not sci­ence fic­tion but it is a long way off for non-med­i­cal rea­sons in Bri­tain,” she added.

“Women con­sid­er­ing freez­ing need to be well in­formed so they can make in­formed de­ci­sions for them­selves.”

In Bri­tain, the tech­nique is avail­able only to women left in­fer­tile by med­i­cal treat­ment, mainly can­cer pa­tients. – Daily Mail

‘Ovar­ian tis­sue freez­ing is not sci­ence fic­tion’

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