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Medicine - Gynecology | Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics (Societies)

Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

Editor-in-Chief: David F. Albertini

ISSN: 1058-0468 (print version)
ISSN: 1573-7330 (electronic version)

Journal no. 10815

New York / Heidelberg, 28 June 2012

Life span of ovarian grafts longer than expected

Study shows that ovarian grafts can produce hormones for more than seven years

10815
Transplanting previously frozen ovarian tissue back into female cancer survivors can lead to long-term hormonal function and preservation of fertility, according to a new study by Samuel Kim from the University of Kansas Medical Center in the US. His work¹, which shows that hormonal function was restored in five women 12-20 weeks after transplantation, and in one case lasted for more than seven years, appears online in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics², published by Springer.
Many female cancer patients want to remain fertile, and choose to freeze some of their ovarian tissue prior to cancer treatment. Following treatment, the frozen tissue is thawed and transplanted back into the survivor's body, in a different location - known as a 'heterotopic site'. However, the longevity of grafted ovarian tissue has been debated for many years, and it is still uncertain how long hormonal (endocrine) function of frozen-thawed ovarian tissue can be maintained.
Kim studied five cancer survivors who had undergone heterotopic ovarian transplantation between 2001-2011. Their frozen ovaries were rapidly thawed and transplanted into the abdominal region. Kim measured both the levels and function of the reproductive hormones in these women via monthly blood tests and ultrasounds after hormonal activity was confirmed. The women were monitored until cessation of hormonal function.
He found that hormonal function was restored in all five patients 12-20 weeks after transplantation. Long-term follow-up in four patients showed that these women needed a second transplantation within two years of the first. Interestingly, restoration of ovarian function after the second transplantation was faster and lasted longer, between nine months and seven years.
The longest duration of hormonal function was seen in a 28-year-old women who underwent ovarian transplantation in 2003 and 2004 after radiotherapy for cervical cancer. Even seven years after transplantation, the grafts were still producing hormones.
Kim concludes: "Re-establishment of long-term endocrine function after ovarian transplantation will benefit young cancer survivors with premature ovarian failure. To my knowledge, this is the longest duration of ovarian function reported in the literature after heterotopic transplantation of frozen-thawed human ovarian tissue."
References
1. Kim SS (2012). Assessment of long term endocrine function after transplantation of frozen-thawed human ovarian tissue to the heterotropic site: 10 year longitudinal follow-up study. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics; DOI 10.1007/s10815-012-9757-3
2. The Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics is published in cooperation with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
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    Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics provides a journal format for the publication of novel cellular, molecular, genetic, and epigenetic findings that advance our understanding of the biology of human gametes and preimplantation embryos. The goal is to optimize and facilitate the translation of discoveries made from human or relevant animal model experimentation to the safe and efficacious practice of human assisted reproductive technologies within a scientifically rigorous and ethically sound set of standards established by the editorial leadership of JARG. The expertise, sensitivity and commitment of the editorial board guides the marriage of contemporary research paradigms with basic science discovery in the form of original papers, minireviews and other special topic opportunities made available to an international audience of reproductive scientists who have a keen interest in the biology of human gametes and embryos. The guiding principles of male and female reproductive health that impact the pre, peri, and post-conceptional viability and developmental capacity of human gametes and preimplantation embryos is emphasized with the vision and purview of human reproductive health in current and future generations of our species.

    The journal is published in cooperation with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, an organization of more than 8,000 physicians, researchers, nurses, technicians and other professionals dedicated to advancing knowledge and expertise in reproductive biology.

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