Research Horizons


Ovarian tissue cryopreservation

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC) is an experimental procedure for preserving fertility typically used in pre-pubertal girls, since this is the only option before puberty, and in adolescent and young adult women who are not able to access standard of care procedures like egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation).

OTC involves a minimally invasive surgery called laparoscopy to remove an ovary or a portion of an ovary for processing the surface tissue (containing the eggs) into small strips for freezing. The tissue is stored at a long-term storage facility until the patient’s care team determines the tissue is needed to help conceive a pregnancy.

At that time, ovarian tissue transplantation (OTT) is may be performed in select patients to restore ovarian function and provide eggs for conception. After warming the ovarian tissue strips, a laparoscopic surgery is performed. The tissue strips are placed into the lining of the pelvis (or peritoneum) in a small pocket near the location of the ovary or sutured onto the remaining ovary.

After OTT, return of ovarian function is monitored through blood work and pelvic ultrasound. Once ovarian function is confirmed the patient can proceed attempting pregnancy naturally or with fertility treatments if necessary.

Credits: Cincinnati Children’s Media Lab (@CincyChildren’s) Animation: Jeff Cimprich, Matt Nelson, and Cat Musgrove Media Lab Direction: Ken Tegtmeyer MD and Ryan Moore MD Content Experts: Stephanie Cizek MD and Lesley Breech MD, Voice Over: Olivia Frias MSN, RN3III, CNL

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