BFS statement on fertility preservation and the storage of tissue for future use

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh are freezing tissue from the reproductive organs of boys and girls with cancer, which can be re-implanted once they reach adulthood and want to start a family.

A woman from Edinburgh has become the first in the UK to give birth to a healthy baby boy following a transplant of her ovarian tissue that had been frozen for 10 years.

Professor Adam Balen, Chair of the British Fertility Society (BFS), said:

“This exciting and ground-breaking research being carried out by colleagues at the University of Edinburgh has the potential to help many young people who face cancer treatment preserve their fertility chances in the future.

Storing ovarian tissue was pioneered 20 years ago and now the results are coming through. We are delighted that the first woman has given birth to a healthy baby boy following an uncomplicated pregnancy ten years after having some of her ovarian tissue frozen. This is a major milestone in fertility preservation and will give hope to many girls and women facing difficult cancer treatment. We know that chemotherapy and radiotherapy can have serious side effects on the reproductive organs.

Storing ovarian tissue and more recently storing testicular tissue is becoming more mainstream but we need more centres providing this service and it is important that a multi-disciplinary team of experts is involved to ensure young people in particular are offered this as an option.We also need more research into preserving male fertility as this area of research is still considered experimental.”

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