The news that a 27 year old woman in Belgium was the first ever to give birth to a baby using her own pre-adult frozen ovarian tissue, has caused interest around the world. The woman in Belgium was the first ever to give birth to a baby using her own pre-adult frozen ovarian tissue and the procedure may become increasingly important given the increasing number of long-term survivors of haematological diseases diagnosed in childhood. In the delicate process, fragments of ovarian tissue are very carefully frozen down before long term storage in liquid nitrogen. When needed they are thawed and transplanted.
Planer plc have provided their controlled rate freezers to scientists around the world and they were used in 1984 for the world’s first human frozen birth. The Belgian team involved in this procedure used Planer freezers as did their colleagues in Louvain where the world's first ovarian tissue transplant was undertaken in 2004 – also with a Planer freezer.
The procedure for freezing the tissue was described by Dr Isabella Demeestere in Human Reproduction journal March 2006 (http://m.humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/8/2010.full). In this latest case, her team removed the ovary when the girl was 13 years old, just before she had begun treatment for cancer. As the chemotherapy needed can destroy ovarian function, they removed the ovary and froze tissue fragments in a Planer Kryo freezer. Tiny strips of ovarian tissue, one to two millimetres thick, were taken from the most productive part of the ovary and cut into sections and treated with cryo-protectants before very careful freezing.
Scientists around the world choose controlled rate freezing and Planer plc are the world leaders in the area and have helped in many breakthroughs, including in 2014, the world’s first successful freezing and re-implantation of an adult mammal organ – an ovary. In 2004, in the world's pioneering procedure, a team led by Professor Donnez, whose labs have three Planer freezers, treated Ms. Ourda Touirat, a thirty two year old cancer patient. She had a daughter in September 2004 after undergoing the transplant; her tissue was removed in 1999, before her radiotherapy treatment. In 2013 a team from Melbourne IVF in Australia reported the world’s first pregnancy from ovarian tissue grafted onto a patient's anterior abdominal wall. Again her ovarian tissue was frozen using a Planer freezer and seven years after the frozen tissue was thawed and grafted back to help her successfully conceive with her own eggs.