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Ovarian grafts could help preserve fertility in cancer patients

Ovarian tissue successfully re-grafted back into body

I am privileged to have been a part of this ground breaking study. Regaining natural hormone production is not just a question of fertility, it is my sense of self as a woman, my femininity, my sexuality.'

A cancer patient has had her own ovarian tissue successfully re-grafted back into her body following a course of high-dose chemotherapy. Tissue samples had been previously taken from her and stored while she underwent and recovered from her chemo. Usually such intensive treatment results in the onset of early menopause, depriving countless young women of the opportunity to conceive in later life. To be able to circumvent this happening is a major medical breakthrough.

The patient was quoted in a recent interview in the Daily Telegraph as saying, 'I am privileged to have been a part of this ground breaking study. Regaining natural hormone production is not just a question of fertility, it is my sense of self as a woman, my femininity, my sexuality.'

Previously patients had been able to opt for having their eggs removed and stored. However, the only way they could subsequently have children was via IVF treatment, With the new grafts, hormone levels return to normal which means the menstrual cycle is re-established and conception can occur naturally. Experiments to achieve this were first carried out in the UK using sheep by one of the same professors working on the medical teams responsible for this latest coup, who hail from the Christie and St Mary's Hospitals in Manchester.

 The same team have also been working on a corresponding procedure for male cancer patients, using testicular tissue. 

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