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Hadassah Successfully Preserves Hope for Fertility in Young Girls Facing Chemotherapy

Ricky Cheung

(New York, NY -- July 03, 2007) -- Physicians at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem have devised a breakthrough method for extending the fertility of the youngest cancer patients. Using the same process devised for adult female cancer patients, a multi-disciplinary medical team has succeeded in harvesting and freezing eggs from the ovarian tissue of young girls about to undergo chemotherapy, giving them hope of preserving their fertility.

For a number of years, women facing chemotherapy have been able to preserve their fertility by undergoing the surgical removal of an ovary, which is then sliced and frozen. After treatment and recovery, the ovaries can be re-implanted in the woman's body and function normally.

Using the same technique, over the last three years, the Hadassah team treated eight girls – ages 5 to 20 – who were about to receive chemotherapy, and wanted to remain viably fertile. In addition, Gynecologist Dr. Ariel Revel, Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Miki Weintraub, Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Eitan Gross and Pediatric Anesthesiologist Dr. Avishag Kedari proved that even among the youngest girls ova, or eggs, could be extracted, matured in the laboratory and then frozen.

The results have been published and were presented this week at the annual international conference of the European Society for Fertility.

“At any age,” Dr. Ravel said, “when there is concern about any significant damage to the ovary, that’s the time to consider freezing it and freezing the ova."

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