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Demand for Fertility Preservation Increasing for Women

January 16, 2018
Katie Visco

Nowadays, the demand for fertility preservation is increasing, and methods to address it include oocyte cryopreservation and ovarian-tissue cryopreservation, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Jacques Donnez, M.D., Ph.D., and Marie-Madeleine Dolmans, M.D., Ph.D., from the Universit̩ Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, discussed methods for fertility preservation in women. 

Indications for fertility preservation include malignant disease, particularly hematologic cancers and breast cancer; benign conditions including autoimmune and hematologic conditions as well as endometriosis and ovarian torsion; and age-related fertility decline.

The researchers noted that oocyte cryopreservation by vitrification provides the highest yield and is suitable for women with benign diseases, those seeking fertility preservation for personal reasons, and women with cancer if treatment can be delayed. Embryo cryopreservation requires a male partner or use of a donor sperm; cryopreservation of mature oocytes can circumvent some related ethical and legal concerns. For adolescents and women in whom cancer treatment cannot be postponed, ovarian-tissue cryopreservation is specifically indicated; however, this technique is still considered experimental. 

All in all, improving freezing techniques, ensuring safe ovarian-tissue transportation (to provide and extend access to fertility preservation in large countries and low-resource areas), and minimizing the risks of fertility-preservation strategies in patients with cancer constitute formidable challenges for the coming decade.

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