New methods of preserving and transplanting ovaries could improve older women's chances of having children, two new studies suggest.
A growing number of women are delaying having a family until they're in their 30s or 40s, when they're more likely to have fertility problems. But doctors say it may be possible to have an ovary removed and frozen when a woman is in her 20s or 30s and have it reimplanted when she's ready to have children, the Associated Press reported.
In one study, U.S. researchers compared the number of eggs in fresh and frozen ovarian tissue removed from 15 women before they had cancer treatment. The ovarian tissue that was frozen using a new ultra-fast technique had the same number of eggs as the fresh tissue. With traditional, slow-freezing methods, about half of the eggs were lost.
In another study, French researchers detailed a new surgical technique to transplant ovaries, the AP reported.
The studies were presented at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction.
"We are in the middle of an infertility epidemic," said Dr. Sherman Silber, who is director of the St. Louis Infertility Center in Missouri and was involved in the first study, the AP reported. "With these new techniques, we could dramatically expand our reproductive lifespan."