Study question: What progress has been made in fertility preservation (FP) over the last decade?
Summary answer: FP techniques have been widely adopted over the last decade and therefore the establishment of international registries on their short- and long-term outcomes is strongly recommended.
What is known already: FP is a fundamental issue for both males and females whose future fertility may be compromised. Reproductive capacity may be seriously affected by age, different medical conditions and also by treatments, especially those with gonadal toxicity. There is general consensus on the need to provide counselling about currently available FP options to all individuals wishing to preserve their fertility.
Study design, size, duration: An international meeting with representatives from expert scientific societies involved in FP was held in Barcelona, Spain, in June 2015.
Participants/materials, setting, methods: Twenty international FP experts belonging to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, ESHRE and the International Society of Fertility Preservation reviewed the literature up to June 2015 to be discussed at the meeting, and approved the final manuscript. At the time this manuscript was being written, new evidence considered relevant for the debated topics was published, and was consequently included.
Main results and the role of chance: Several oncological and non-oncological diseases may affect current or future fertility, either caused by the disease itself or the gonadotoxic treatment, and need an adequate FP approach. Women wishing to postpone maternity and transgender individuals before starting hormone therapy or undergoing surgery to remove/alter their reproductive organs should also be counselled accordingly. Embryo and oocyte cryopreservation are first-line FP methods in post-pubertal women. Metaphase II oocyte cryopreservation (vitrification) is the preferred option. Cumulative evidence of restoration of ovarian function and spontaneous pregnancies after ART following orthotopic transplantation of cryopreserved ovarian tissue supports its future consideration as an open clinical application. Semen cryopreservation is the only established method for FP in men. Testicular tissue cryopreservation should be recommended in pre-pubertal boys even though fertility restoration strategies by autotransplantation of cryopreserved testicular tissue have not yet been tested for safe clinical use in humans. The establishment of international registries on the short- and long-term outcomes of FP techniques is strongly recommended.
Limitations, reasons for caution: Given the lack of studies in large cohorts or with a randomized design, the level of evidence for most of the evidence reviewed was three or below.
Wider implications of the findings: Further high quality studies are needed to study the long-term outcomes of FP techniques.
Study funding/competing interest(s): None.
Trial registration number: N/A.
Keywords: embryo cryopreservation; fertility preservation; fertoprotection; non-oncological fertility preservation; oncological fertility preservation; oocyte cryopreservation; ovarian tissue cryopreservation; semen cryopreservation; testicular tissue cryopreservation.
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