Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation
Girls are born with their total compliment of immature eggs already formed in the ovarian cortex. Cryopreservation is a way of storing tissue at very low temperatures in a ‘cryogenic’ freezer. The ultra-low temperature in the freezer preserves the hormone function and eggs stored in the ovarian tissue. For children and young adults who cannot have standard fertility preservation this offers the opportunity to preserve their ovarian function for use after chemotherapy / radiotherapy treatment is complete.
Immature Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation
There is no sperm present in the testes until after puberty. Immature testicular tissue contains the stem cells that will produce sperm. It is possible to cryopreserve testicular tissue from pre-pubertal boys for use after chemotherapy / radiotherapy is complete.
It is sometimes possible to collect mature or almost mature eggs from the unstimulated ovary at the time of ovarian tissue cryopreservation. These eggs can be matured in vitro and then frozen / vitrified for future use.
We run a biobank and hold ovarian and testicular tissue donated for research.
There are a number of active research programmes with in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , the Institute of Reproductive Studies and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine focused at better understanding of male and female infertility and new techniques for storage and use of cryopreserved tissue.