Background: Infertility is a common late effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and has a substantial effect on the quality of life for young survivors of cancer. For men, semen cryopreservation is a simple way of preserving reproductive potential but for women, storage of mature eggs rarely proves successful, and the alternative-immediate in vitro fertilisation with cryopreservation of embryos-is not always appropriate. Reimplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue has been shown to restore natural fertility in animals. We applied this technique in a woman who had received sterilising chemotherapy for lymphoma.
Methods: A 36-year-old woman underwent a right oophorectomy with cryopreservation of ovarian cortical strips before receiving high-dose CBV chemotherapy for a third recurrence of Hodgkin's lymphoma. 19 months later, when serum sex steroid analysis confimed a postmenopausal state, two ovarian cortical strips were thawed and reimplanted-one onto the left ovary and another at the site of the right ovary.
Findings: 7 months after reimplantation of ovarian cortical strips, the patient reported resolution of hot flashes and, for the first time, oestradiol was detected in the serum. This finding was associated with a decrease in the concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone, and ultrasonography revealed a 10 mm thick endometrium, a poorly visualised left ovary, and a 2 cm diameter follicular structure to the right of the midline. The patient had one menstrual period, but by 9 months after the implantation, her sex steroid concentrations had returned to those seen with ovarian failure.
Interpretation: Orthotopic reimplantation of frozen/thawed ovarian cortical strips is a well tolerated technique for restoring ovarian function in women treated with sterilising chemotherapy for cancer.