By: Sherman J. Silber, Sierra Goldsmith, Leilani Castleman, Kellie Hurlbut, Yuting Fan, Jeffery Melnick, Katsuhiko Hayashi
Is it possible to use experience gained from 24 years of frozen ovarian transplantation, and from recent experience with in-vitro gametogenesis to accomplish simple and robust in-vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes from human ovarian tissue?
A total of 119 female patients between age 2 and 35 years old underwent ovary cryopreservation (as well as in-vitro maturation of oocytes and IVM in the last 13 individuals) over a 24-year period. Up to 22 years later, 17 returned to have their ovary tissue thawed and transplanted back.
Every woman had a return of ovarian function 5 months after transplant, similar to previous observations. As observed before, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) concentration rose as FSH fell 4 months later. The grafts continued to work up to 8 years. Of the 17, 13 (76%) became pregnant with intercourse at least once, resulting in 19 healthy live births, including six live births from three women who had had leukaemia. Of the harvested germinal vesicle oocytes, 35% developed with simple culture media into mature metaphase II oocytes.
The authors concluded the following. First, ovary tissue cryopreservation is a robust method for preserving fertility even for women with leukaemia, without a need to delay cancer treatment. Second, many mature oocytes can often be obtained from ovary tissue with simple media and no need for ovarian stimulation. Third, ovarian stimulation may only be necessary for removing the oocyte from the ovary, which can also be accomplished by simple dissection at the time of ovary freezing. Finally, pressure and just eight ‘core genes’ control primordial follicle recruitment and development.