Ovarian Tissue Preservation
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation involves extracting part or all of an ovary to vitrify its cortex, thus protecting it from exposure to harmful agents such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. After this exposure is completed, this cortex is reimplanted into the contralateral ovary or into the cavity. This preserves its reproductive and hormonal function.
Like oocyte vitrification, ovarian tissue cryopreservation is one of the fertility preservation techniques that avoids exposure to toxic agents (chemotherapy or radiation therapy) or situations that may affect its functionality. This technique has already resulted in several births worldwide. Unlike oocyte vitrification, ovarian tissue cryopreservation does not require ovarian stimulation or hormonal treatment. It does not depend on hormonal function, which means that a pre-pubertal ovary can also be cryopreserved.
What does it involve?
It involves extracting the entire ovary or fragments of ovarian tissue through a surgical procedure (laparoscopy). This tissue is dissected (cut into small pieces), and the part containing the follicles (the cortex) is cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen tanks at -196ºC.
A section of the ovarian tissue sample is sent for pathological anatomy study to determine any pathological or oncological diagnoses. Once the exposure to the toxic agent is completed, these ovarian tissue sections are thawed to be reimplanted primarily into the ovary or the cavity through a new surgical procedure (laparoscopy).
There are also new experimental techniques for in vitro maturation (outside the body) of oocytes, which could demonstrate benefits in the future. This technique could restore ovarian function, both hormonally and reproductively, and even lead to spontaneous pregnancies. Additionally, by normalizing hormonal values, it could prevent the side effects associated with early menopause caused by chemotherapy treatments (osteoporosis, hot flashes, cardiovascular risk), offering benefits at the endocrine and reproductive levels.