Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is a process to preserve fertility intended for women who will undergo medical treatment (such as radiation treatment, chemotherapy, specific types of surgery, etc.) which is liable to impact their fertility.
- The process works by removing a section of ovarian tissue and freezing it before the medical treatment is performed. It is thus possible to preserve ovarian tissue containing follicles and eggs which can then be re-implanted in the future, enabling resumption of fertility.
- The treatment included in the healthcare basket as part of ovarian tissue cryopreservation includes:
- Extraction of ovarian tissue
- Processing of ovarian tissue
- Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue
Who is Eligible?
- Girls and women up to age 40, in their childbearing years in the following cases:
- Those suffering from a malignant disease who will undergo medical treatment (such as radiation treatment, chemotherapy) which is liable to damage their ovaries and prevent them from being able to conceive in the future.
- Those with any illness or who will undergo any type of treatment that may cause irreversible damage to their fertility (such as extensive abdominal surgery, treatment using a medication with high toxicity, etc.).
How to Claim It?
- In cases where a specific treatment or procedure may impact fertility, the attending physician must provide the patient with information regarding the relevant technologies that may be able to enable fertility in the future.
- Before undergoing any of the cryopreservation process, patients must sign an informed consent form that details all of the risks and chances of risk from the procedure.
- If a patient is under the age of 14, written informed consent to the procedure must be obtained after all critical information has been presented to her in a manner which is appropriate to her in terms of her age and level of comprehension. Informed consent must also be obtained from her legal guardian. If there is disagreement between the patient and the guardian, a court of law may be requested to judge the case.
Performing the Procedure
- Ovarian tissue cryopreservation may only be performed in an approved invitro fertilization unit.
- Cryopreservation for purposes of fertility preservation will continue for a period of 10 years from the date the procedure was performed.
- Patients are permitted to stop the procedure at any time.
- Ovarian tissue cryopreservation for girls and women who will undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment is included in the healthcare basket.
- It is not possible to have ovarian tissue cryopreservation and egg retrieval performed on the same woman.
- If ovarian tissue was taken and it is possible to isolate eggs, the woman is entitled to freeze both ovarian tissue and eggs (fertilized, unfertilized, or a combination of the two).
- The Ministry of Health has permitted ovarian tissue cryopreservation as a routine procedure. Nonetheless, transplant of ovarian tissue back into the body after thawing in order to renew fertility is still considered to be innovative and experimental, and requires special approval for medical experimentation on human beings from the Supreme Helsinki Committee on Experimentation.
- Treatment will be provided for the birth of up to two children in the current family.
Laws and Regulations
- Medical Administration Circular 16/2009 from 20.04.2009 regarding cryopreservation of ovarian tissue
- Medical Administration Circular 6/2011 from 23.01.2011 on expanding the health services basket for the year 2011