However, with an Australian woman, rendered infertile by ovarian cancer treatment, expecting twins after successfully undergoing ovarian tissue transplantation, doctors are expecting that the new technique could revolutionise fertility treatment.
Though the procedure had been carried out previously, this is for the first time that the tissue has been successfully transplanted into the abdomen instead of the ovaries.
Ovarian tissue transplant: How it is done
Healthy ovarian cortical tissue is removed using laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery) from the woman about to undergo cancer treatment. The minimally invasive procedure lasts approximately 1 hour and requires general anesthesia.
The ovary`s cortex is cut into tiny 1 millimetre thick strips and then frozen to be used for future transplantation.
Once the patient goes into remission post cancer treatment and plans to have a baby several slices of the previously frozen ovarian tissue can then be thawed and implanted near the fallopian, either orthotopic (on the natural location) or heterotopic (on the abdominal wall).
The cortex tissue strips contain immature follicles, once implanted back into the body start producing hormones and eggs like a normal ovary following which a woman starts to ovulate and can try for pregnancy either naturally or through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technique.