Outcomes of transplantations of cryopreserved ovarian tissue to 41 women in Denmark

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION

What are the results of transplanting cryopreserved ovarian tissue?

SUMMARY ANSWER

The transplanted ovarian tissue can last up to 10 years, with no relapses following the 53 transplantations, and the chance of a successful pregnancy is currently around one in three for those with a pregnancy-wish.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue is now gaining ground as a valid method for fertility preservation. More than 36 children worldwide have now been born following this procedure.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION

This is a retrospective cohort study of 41 women who had thawed ovarian tissue transplanted 53 times over a period of 10 years, including 1 patient who was lost to follow-up.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS

The 41 Danish women, who had in total 53 transplantations, were followed for ovarian function and fertility outcome. Safety was assessed by monitoring relapse in cancer survivors.

MAIN RESULTS, AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE

Among 32 women with a pregnancy-wish, 10 (31%) had a child/children (14 children in total); this included 1 woman with a third trimester on-going pregnancy. In addition, two legal abortions and one second trimester miscarriage occurred. A total of 24 clinical pregnancies were established in the 32 women with a pregnancy-wish. The tissue remained functional for close to 10 years in some cases and lasted only a short period in others. Three relapses occurred but were unlikely to be due to the transplanted tissue.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION

Self-report through questionnaires with only in-one hospital formalised follow-up of transplanted patients could result in unreported miscarriages. The longevity of the tissue may vary by few months compared with those reported because some patients simply could not remember the date when the tissue became non-functional.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS

Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue is likely to become integrated into the treatment of young women, with cancer, who run a risk of losing their fertility. The full functional lifespan of grafts is still being evaluated, because many of the transplanted women have continued to maintain ovarian activity. Some of our first cases have had tissue functioning for ∼10 years.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)

The Child Cancer Foundation in Denmark (2012–26) and the EU interregional project ReproHigh are thanked for having funded this study. They had no role in the study design, collection and analysis of data, data interpretation or writing of the report. The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

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