Expert recommends fertility preservation for young people including cancer patients

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A fertility specialist and gynaecologist, Dr Olajumoke Ogunro, on Monday recommended fertility preservation for young people, including cancer patients that might run into infertility following anti-cancer drugs.

Ogunro, who works at a Lagos based private Hospital, The Alpha Assisted Reproductive Klinic, made the recommendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“It helps cancer patients and survivors to avoid infertility that may result from the effects of anti-cancer drugs or treatment,” she said.

According to her, fertility preservation is a way of saving sperms or eggs or reproductive tissue so that they can be used to have biological children in future.

She said that a woman should consider fertility preservation before 35 years, because a woman’s chances of remaining fertile would decline after 35 years.

“However, for women over 35 and less than 40 years old, it is better to check the ovarian reserve first before considering fertility preservation.

“Women who are concerned about loss of their eggs and fertility due to natural aging should consider fertility preservation.

“Also, women at risk of losing ovarian function at a young age as a result of genetic factors should consider the process, “ the expert advised.

She said that the request for fertility preservation was still very low in Nigeria, and called for more awareness creation.

“The awareness is still quite low and only very few clinics have the expertise and facilities for that.

“In Nigeria, eggs have been frozen and thawed and used successfully. However, only few clinics have reported pregnancies with frozen eggs.

“We do not have statistics yet to show the success rate, but in the centre where I work, we have had about 80 per cent success with frozen eggs and 100 per cent with frozen sperms, “ she said.

Ogunro explained that the process does not involve keeping the sperm, eggs or embryos in the freezer and had nothing to do with power supply.

She said that at present, the process was not being offered in any public institution in Nigeria.

“Methods of fertility preservation include egg freezing where drugs are giving to stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles which contain eggs.

“When the eggs are of a particular size, they are collected and frozen.

“Embryo freezing-eggs are collected and fertilized with sperms and the resulting embryos cryopreserved; this is possible if you have a partner.

“Then, Ovarian tissue cryopreservation where a part of the ovarian tissue is taken and cryopreserved,’’ Ogunro said.

Cryopreservation is a process where organelles, cells, tissues, extracellular matrix, organs or any other biological constructs susceptible to damage caused by unregulated chemical kinetics are preserved by cooling to very low temperatures. (NAN)

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