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Here's a piece of good news for cancer survivors! About two decades ago, Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania froze testicular tissue from mice. Recently they discovered that the tissue is yet viable, keeping the latest step onward in supporting cancer survivors productive. This is a breakthrough discovery for cancer patients, increasing rapidly in the country. Apart from the old cases, thousands of new cases are coming out every year. Many of these cancer patients are less than 40 years of age. While the cancer problem was seen in the girls after the age of 40, now the girls of 13 to 15 years are also battling breast cancer.
Patients become infertile forever in complete cancer treatment. Nowadays, leukaemia (blood), Hodgkin's, and breast and brain cancer are common at an early age. In such a situation, giving treatment like drug dosage, radiation and chemotherapy can destroy the patients' fertility and cannot have children of their own.
"Cancer treatment has added years to various lives. However, the late consequence of infertility offsets the quality of life for young adults. Since 1980s sperm banking has been the mainstay of preserving fertility for cancer survivors.Freezing the testicular tissue and having it viable for more than two decades is a welcome innovation for preserving fertility" Dr Tejinder Kataria, Chairperson radiation oncology, Cancer Center, Medanta The Medicity.
Eoin Whelan, PhD, the lead study author, says that spermatogenic stem cells are cryopreserved with the 'Fertility Preservation' technique. Hence, the cells remain frozen and protected from the drugs and therapy used during cancer treatment. Similarly, the ovaries of a woman who has cancer are cryopreserved. When the treatment is completed, then the ovary is put in it so that she can become a mother again. After treatment, the couple can have their child.
This treatment, i.e. the 'Fertility Preservation', was earlier adopted in foreign countries, but it has started in India. If the girl's age is more than 15, then her egg and the sperm of the man are cryopreserved. The egg of the woman and the sperm of the man is cryopreserved by preparing the embryo with the IVF technique. After the treatment, the embryo is put back into the woman's body. After that, she can become a mother just like ordinary women.