Breakthrough procedure could lead to natural pregnancy for cancer survivors

Female cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy could be able to have a natural pregnancy due to a new procedure. The New York Post reports that plans for a groundbreaking procedure that could be beneficial for millions of women have been submitted to the New York Health Department for approval.

Dr George Kofinas, a fertility doctor, has submitted plans to open a reproductive surgery centre that specialises in ovarian-tissue harvesting and transplantation. At the centre, women would have a slice of ovarian tissue that contains eggs removed and frozen prior to their cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy often affects fertility by causing damage to the ovaries, meaning many women who undergo cancer treatment are unable to have a baby. However, by freezing ovarian tissue, women who have recovered from treatment and are cancer-free, will be able to go through a procedure similar to a skin graft, using the healthy ovarian tissue.

The tissue is transplanted back into the damaged ovary to restore reproductive function, meaning women will not need to go through the process of IVF or egg donation in order to have a baby.

Dr Kofinas told the Health Department review panel in a presentation that “the demand for this service is projected to be very high. We have an ever-growing number of cancer survivors that come to us now and their ovaries have been completely destroyed by chemotherapy and other kinds of treatment and we can’t help them unless we use donor eggs.

“Providing these people with the service of storing their ovarian tissue for the time they become reproductively active is a unique service."

Currently, the only place this procedure is performed in the US is the Infertility Center of St Louis, Missouri. Dr Sherman Silber leads the project at this location and told the news provider that there is a 75 per cent success rate when using this method.

The Health Department is currently considering the proposal. ADNFCR-2094-ID-801834083-ADNFCR