"The first thing the gynecologist and oncologist need to think about before chemotherapy is to propose cryopreservation [freezing] of ovarian tissue before chemotherapy. That's the first option," Donnez said. "The second option is cryopreservation of embryos," he said. "But even when tissue isn't preserved, we have some hope that transplanting ovarian tissue will restore function."
Donnez hopes in the future that immunosuppressive drugs can be developed that will not be toxic to embryos, making ovarian tissue transplantation a wider option for women.
One expert is unsure about the practicality of ovarian transplantation.
"This is another step in ovarian transplantation," said Dr. Richard J. Paulson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles.
Paulson is skeptical, however, that the technique is very practical. "Why on earth would you bother to do this, when you can clearly do egg donation from the one sister to the other," he said. "That would have had a higher success rate -- instead, they are goofing around with this transplantation of the ovarian cortex."
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine can tell you more about infertility.
SOURCES: Jacques Donnez, M.D., head, department of gynecology, professor and chairman, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels; Richard J. Paulson, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, chief, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles; Aug. 2, 2007, Human Reproduction