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Technique Preserves Future Fertility in Girls With Cancer

Doctors retrieved immature eggs from ovarian tissue

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Girls with childhood cancer may still be able to bear children later in life by preserving ovarian tissue for later use, a new report finds.

Israeli researchers at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, working with 19 patients ages 5 to 20, were able to retrieve an average of nine oocytes (immature eggs) per patient, and 34 percent of these eggs successfully matured. The researchers will next test the ability of these eggs to become fertilized.

The research was published in the October online edition of Fertility and Sterility.

"As our ability to treat childhood cancers improves, it becomes more important that those survivors are able to live rich, full lives, including the ability have children. This research helps moves us to the goal of allowing pediatric cancer survivors to become parents," Dr. David Adamson, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said in a news release issued by that organization, which publishes the journal.

Males with cancer who are mature enough to produce sperm can have the sperm frozen for later use; however, ovulation induction and egg freezing techniques are not available to help adult women who have survived cancer.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer and fertility.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Society for Reproductive Medicine, news release, Oct. 27, 2008

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