Emerging cryopreservation techniques are increasing hope of restoring fertility for women after diseases such as ovarian cancer that lead to destruction of reproductive tissue. The same techniques can also be used to maintain stocks of farm animals, and protect against extinction of endangered animal species by maintaining banks of ovarian tissue or even nascent embryos that can used to produce offspring at some point in the future.
Until now these clearly related fields of research concerning preservation of animal and human ovarian tissue have been largely separate, but are now coming together to reinforce each other, following a highly successful workshop on cryopreservation of ovarian tissue, organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF). The human and animals cryopreservation fields have much to teach each other, and progress in both is likely to be accelerated as a result of growing collaboration, according to the ESF workshop's convenor Claus Yding Andersen.
Both parties can learn from each other," said Andersen. "Experiments which cannot be performed in women can be done in animal species," he noted, pointing out that much of the progress in humans has come as a result of animal experiments. But it is in humans where most successful transplantations of frozen ovarian tissue after thawing have been carried out, and where greatest experience in the field has been gained. Therefore the ESF conference considered how this could be applied to conservation of endangered species. "The vast experience in women, with several children born as a result of transplantation of frozen/thawed ovarian tissue, can be applied in endangered species to know where to implant and how to obtain pregnancies," said Andersen. The techniques will also be valuable in agriculture, for preserving ovaries of farm animals in tissue banks with the potential for subsequent re-creation.
The conference highlighted recent progress in human ovarian cryopreserv
|Contact: Claus Yding Andersen|
European Science Foundation