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Infertile patients cannot afford to wait for treatment while their eggs get older.

Dr. Sherman Silber, Infertility Center of St. Louis, is offering free video consultations for patients who need to plan now for their treatment while stay-at-home orders are in place. He is talking to and evaluating patients in their home to comply with social distancing measures.

Dr. Silber is discovering that patients actually prefer this method of telemedicine consultation over the conventional office visit. Patients have conveyed that “it is so much more convenient and less stressful” to have a free telemedicine personal consultation than to take a day off from work to travel to the doctor’s office and sit with other nervous patients in the waiting room.

The COVID-19 pandemic is thus changing much of the way we will do things in the future, and for the better. “Our patients are surprisingly much happier with this approach. Of course, at some point we need to perform hands on treatment. But with this new manner of seeing patients, we can come to the right diagnosis and treatment plan for most patients more efficiently, quickly, and painlessly, with no loss of personal one-on-one communication.” This is a very welcome new era of telemedicine that has been forced on us by the current difficult times.

In-vitro maturation and transplantation of cryopreserved ovary tissue: understanding ovarian longevity

By: Sherman J. Silber, Sierra Goldsmith, Leilani Castleman, Kellie Hurlbut, Yuting Fan, Jeffery Melnick, Katsuhiko Hayashi

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Abstract

Research question

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?

Design

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

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