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Freezing techniques as fertility preservation strategies: a narrative review


Obstetrics & Gynecology International Journal
Ciarmatori Silvia, Rey Valzacchi Gaston

Abstract

Advances in the development of new chemotherapy and radiotherapy regimens have significantly improved the survival of cancer patients but many of these treatments have detrimental effects on gonadal function. These treatments may cause premature ovarian failure in females and azoospermia in males. Non-oncological conditions may also require therapies that put women's and men´s reproductive potential at risk. Moreover, an increasing number of women today decide to postpone maternity beyond the age of 35 due to social reasons with a possible affectation of future fertility due to the effect of age. The development and evolution of assisted reproductive techniques offer these patients new alternatives to preserve their fertility. The objective of this review is to describe the different options of fertility preservation. Oocyte vitrification for female and sperm banking for male are the first line for fertility preservation at the present time. Other techniques such as ovarian and testis tissue preservation, in vitro maturation of gametes, pharmacological protection (GnRH agonists and antiapoptotic agents) and surgical treatments (oophoropexy, selective radical trachelectomy) will be described. One of the most important steps in optimizing the results of these fertility preservation procedures in cancer patients is the need for prompt and timely referral to reproductive medicine specialists. Fertility preservation should be integrated as part of the oncological healthcare. Optimal counselling from healthcare professionals should always be present.

Keywords

fertility preservation, oocyte vitrification, sperm cryopreservation, oncological patients

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