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Fertility after treatment for cancer

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 09 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:935

Questions remain over ways of preserving ovarian and testicular tissue

  1. JA Radford, senior lecturer in medical oncology,
  2. SM Shalet, professor of endocrinology,
  3. BA Lieberman, consultant gynaecologist
  1. Christie Hospital, Manchester M20 4BX
  2. St Mary's Hospital, Manchester M13 0JH

    An increasing number of people are being successfully treated for cancer, and for those with an expectation of long-term survival the late effects of treatment are of concern. Young people have a particular interest in the impact of chemotherapy or radiotherapy on their future fertility, and recent media reports1 of the successful transplantation of cryopreserved autologous ovarian tissue into a previously oophorectomised woman with non-malignant disease (K Oktay et al, Annual Meeting of American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Toronto, September 1999) will have caught the imagination of many. If a technique works in this situation, why not for a woman with malignancy whose ovarian tissue might be harvested before the start of sterilising chemotherapy?

    Successful transplantation of cryopreserved ovarian cortical tissue into castrated ewes was first performed by Gosden and colleagues in 19942: a return of oestrus cycles was observed, and, after normal mating, conceptions occurred and lambs were born. Further work in women suggests that small pieces of …

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