Childhood cancer is a disastrous disease. Fear and worry consume families due to this. In some cases, radiotherapy and intense treatments like chemotherapy are required to expectingly reduce the progress of cancer in a child’s body. Adult males diagnosed with cancer, sperm can be frozen and banked before chemotherapy. This preservation technique isn’t all that uncommon in testicular cancer survivors who still hope to have children one day.
When it comes to kids who’d have to go through these treatment before puberty, banking isn’t an option. But, a new research in the field suggests that there might be an option for fertility preservation.
Sperm production through a frozen testicular sample
An experiment conducted in the field was able to use a sample of frozen testicular tissue sampled from a rhesus monkey in order to successfully create a baby monkey. The hope is that it could one day be possible to replicate this process in human beings. If so, it could provide childhood cancer survivors with a way to preserve their fertility and the treatment process would be seen as a Safeguard for fertility.
Development of the treatment
- The researchers sampled one testicle in five different monkeys.
- The tissues were frozen using special cryopreservation techniques.
- The monkeys were then administered chemotherapy.
- Five months later, the researchers removed the remaining testicle from each monkey.
- The revitalized frozen testicles tissues were then implanted into the monkeys.
- The aim was to determine if the cryo-preservation process could impede the animal’s chances of producing sperm to a point that they could not viably produce offspring.
The monkeys were closely checked and a year later, the researchers removed the transplants to examine them under a powerful microscope. The samples were pulverized with forceps and enzymes were used to recover live sperm from the tissues.They then used the collected sperm from one of the frozen transplants which took several attempts but finally the fertilization was successful. Out of 138 eggs that were successfully fertilized 11 embryos developed to the point where they could be transferred into the uterus of a healthy, unaltered female monkey. However, out Of these 11 embryos, only one monkey carried a successful pregnancy to term.
This experiment has had a very significant impact on medical science as it paves a path to finding fertility options where none existed earlier.