Ovarian tissue preservation and future fertility: emerging technologies and ethical considerations

J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2005;(34):107-10. doi: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgi023.


Both adult women and prepubertal girls facing cancer treatment may have the option to harvest and cryopreserve ovarian tissue. If they have successful therapy for their disease, the tissue may be autotransplanted back into the woman's body or follicles may be harvested and matured in vitro. These techniques all remain experimental, however, and should be performed only by specialized centers that can provide a multidisciplinary team. The procedures should be done under approval from an Institutional Review Board with proper assurance of informed consent. Although the costs for research could be assessed to patients if no research funds are available, clinical fees should not be charged at this stage in the development of these technologies. Consideration should be given to the protection of minors by ensuring parental informed consent and child assent whenever possible. Disposition of cryopreserved gonadal tissue in the event of the participant's death should be formally designated. A registry should be established to follow the health of participants and their eventual offspring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Cryopreservation
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Ovarian Follicle / transplantation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / ethics*
  • Tissue Banks / ethics*