Oocyte freezing: Is it ready for prime time?

November 1, 2004

In a recent issue of Lancet, researchers reported on one of the first successful cases in which ovarian tissue that had been removed and frozen before a patient underwent cancer chemotherapy was later re-implanted and led to a successful pregnancy.

In a recent issue of Lancet, researchers reported on one of the first successful cases in which ovarian tissue that had been removed and frozen before a patient underwent cancer chemotherapy was later re-implanted and led to a successful pregnancy. Despite these promising results, a Practice Committee statement released at this year's ASRM meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., has concluded that the new procedure should not be made available outside a research setting. According to Mark Fritz, MD, an ASRM spokesman, "Neither ovarian tissue nor oocyte cryopreservation should be marketed or offered as a means to defer reproductive aging at this time."

If patients who are about to undergo chemotherapy or radiation want to take advantage of the new technology, they should seek out a program that is being supervised by an institutional review board, according to ASRM.

The Society is discouraging women from seeking out commercially available egg freezing centers because they're making unrealistic claims. Despite the lack of large-scale clinical trials and any hardcore data, some programs are claiming a 20% to 35% pregnancy rate.

Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Ovarian tissue and oocyte cryopreservation. Fertil Steril. 2004;82:993-998.