OU Health has pioneered a groundbreaking fertility preservation method, ovarian tissue cryopreservation, offering new hope to patients at risk of infertility due to medical treatments. This innovative procedure is particularly beneficial for those needing urgent life-saving treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, who lack time for traditional fertility methods. As Oklahoma’s sole provider, OU Health successfully conducted its first procedure in 2023.
Differing from conventional in vitro fertilization and embryo freezing, which require weeks of preparation, ovary tissue freezing is a swift process. It involves a laparoscopic surgery to remove an ovary, which is then sent to a specialized lab at the University of Pittsburgh for safe freezing and storage. This technique is especially vital for young girls pre-puberty, offering them a chance for future pregnancy.
Experts at OU Health, including Dr. Heather Burks and Dr. Lisa Moon, emphasize the profound emotional and psychological impact of discussing future fertility during a health crisis. These conversations offer a beacon of hope, focusing on long-term outcomes beyond immediate medical challenges. The technique is still rare, with OU Health collaborating closely with the University of Pittsburgh, a leader in the field.
The procedure, however, faces challenges such as a lack of insurance coverage. OU Health is actively working to make this option more accessible through the Michelle Hastings Fertility Fund. This advancement in reproductive medicine not only offers a new fertility path for patients but also contributes to ongoing research in the field.
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