Fertility Preservation Works for Prepubertal Males
Oct 31, 2017
Published in: ASRM Press Release
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE’S 2017 SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS & EXPO
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San Antonio, TX - At the Scientific Congress and Expo of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine today, researchers report successfully recovering functional, mature sperm from previously frozen testicular tissue collected from prepubertal Rhesus macaques.
Young boys diagnosed with cancer should be offered fertility preservation prior to gonadotoxic treatments, but if they have not gone through puberty, they are not able to freeze mature sperm. This limits them to storing testicular tissue in the hope that it can, in the future, be matured and sperm recovered from it.
In a study supported by the NICHD, testicular tissue was surgically removed from five prepubertal Rhesus macaques. The tissue was stained to confirm it was immature and cut into small pieces. Some pieces were frozen, then thawed, prior to being grafted back to the monkeys; some pieces were not frozen prior to being grafted. Grafts were placed in two sites- under the skin on the backs of the animals and in their scrotums. Until the grafts were recovered 8 to 12 months later, they were monitored for volume and the monkeys’ FSH and testosterone levels were tested regularly, showing that they were progressing through puberty.
After graft recovery, portions of each tissue sample were digested with collagenase and sperm were recovered. Spermatogenesis was confirmed from all grafts, fresh and frozen, with millions of sperm recovered from each graft and proven competent to fertilize Rhesus macaque eggs.
Daniel Williams, MD, President of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology said, “Childhood cancer treatment has a very good chance of saving patients’ lives, but poses a threat to their future fertility. Now it has been shown that testicular tissue in non-human primates can be frozen, thawed, grafted, and matured, and produce sufficient competent sperm for future reproductive needs. With this progress, we hope that providers caring for young boys with cancer will now be more likely to refer them for fertility preservation and that insurance companies will be more likely to cover this important component of comprehensive cancer care.”
O-270 A. Fayomi, et al. AUTOLOGOUS GRAFTING OF FROZEN AND THAWED PREPUBERTAL TESTICULAR TISSUE PRODUCES FUNCTIONAL SPERM IN RHESUS MACAQUES
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