Ovarian tissue cryopreservation to preserve fertility in cancer patients. False hope or real prospect?

R. Van Den Broecke, P Pennings, Jun Liu, Josiane Van Der Elst, Marc Dhont

Research output: Contribution to journalOther scientific journal contribution


Along with improved survival, methods to preserve or restore the fertility potential of young women and children treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy or pelvic radiotherapy have been developed or are in the offing. Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can all impact on the future ovarian function, but patient and disease tailored application and use of preventive measures can limit ovarian damage. When the loss of reproductive ovarian function is unavoidable, different alternatives to preserve fertility or at least to restore the procreative potential are available. Creation of embryos by IVF, oocyte donation and cryopreservation of mature or immature oocytes are potential issues, the advantages and limitations of which are discussed. Recently, ovarian tissue cryopreservation has spurred interest in the medical literature as well as in the lay press as a method for preservation and restoring fertility. Considering the available data and current state of knowledge, we want to stress that this methodology is still in an experimental phase and we would like to caution against unwarranted enthusiasm of physicians and patients. The medical information preceding the informed consent should mention the actual uncertainties of this method. Moreover, the imperative character of the offer and in particular for paediatric oncological patients, the force of the moral rules that define parental obligations towards children should not be ignored.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUnknown Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • cryopreservation
  • ethics
  • grafts
  • ovary


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