Background: The lifesaving treatment endured by cancer patients leads, in many women, to early menopause and subsequent infertility. In clinical situations for which chemotherapy needs to be started, ovarian tissue cryopreservation looks to be a promising option to restore fertility. In 1997, biopsy samples of ovarian cortex were taken from a woman with stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma and cryopreserved before chemotherapy was initiated. After her cancer treatment, the patient had premature ovarian failure.
Methods: In 2003, after freeze-thawing, orthotopic autotransplantation of ovarian cortical tissue was done by laparoscopy.
Findings: 5 months after reimplantation, basal body temperature, menstrual cycles, vaginal ultrasonography, and hormone concentrations indicated recovery of regular ovulatory cycles. Laparoscopy at 5 months confirmed the ultrasonographic data and showed the presence of a follicle at the site of reimplantation, clearly situated outside the ovaries, both of which appeared atrophic. From 5 to 9 months, the patient had menstrual bleeding and development of a follicle or corpus luteum with every cycle. 11 months after reimplantation, human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations and vaginal echography confirmed a viable intrauterine pregnancy, which has resulted in a livebirth.
Interpretation: We have described a livebirth after orthotopic autotransplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue. Our findings suggest that cryopreservation of ovarian tissue should be offered to all young women diagnosed with cancer.