Cryopreservation of human ovarian tissue

Fabbri R, Pasquinelli G, Bracone G, Orrico C, Di Tommaso B, Venturoli S

Cell and Tissue Banking. 2006;7(2):123-33


New and often aggressive treatment schemes allow the successful healing of many young patients with cancer, but the price the young women have to pay is high: many of them lose ovarian function and fertility. Due to the improved long-term survival of adolescents and young women with malignancies undergoing gonadotoxic chemotherapy, preservation of future fertility has been the focus of recent ubiquitarian interest. A feasible solution is the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue. Ovarian tissue, after thawing, can be used in three different ways: 1. grafted into its normal site (orthotopic); 2. grafted into a site other than its normal position (heterotopic), necessitating recourse to in vitro fertilization (IVF); 3. grown and in vitro matured in order to obtain metaphase II oocytes for an IVF program. It is believed that protein supplementation, in cryopreservation solution, is essential for improving ovarian tissue cryopreservation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ultrastructural appearance of human ovarian tissue cryopreserved in 1.5 M 1,2 propanediol (PROH), 0.2 M sucrose using different protein sources: fetal calf serum (FCS), plasmanate or syntetic serum substitute (SSS). Fresh and frozen/thawed ovarian tissues were compared by transmission electron microscope (TEM), to evaluate the appearance of stromal and follicle cells as affected by different protein sources. Our data indicate that FCS is a better protein support for ovarian tissue cryopreservation when compared to SSS or Plasmanate. In addition the follicles are more resistant to the cryopreservation with respect to stroma.