Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

IVF hopes for children undergoing chemotherapy

Cryogenic freezing of ovaries may offer female patients the same chance of parenthood as male patients who have testicular tissue frozen.

In December we reported the case of a 9 year old boy from Cornwall, who had a testicular tissue sample stored in the hope of preserving his ability to father children later in life. Like many male patients facing chemotherapy for cancer and for whom infertility is a side effect of the life saving treatment, the inability to father children after successful treatment is a significant social and psychological issue. Infertility can impact upon the ability to have successful relationships and give rise to questions as to the purpose of life.

Until recently, storing semen samples for male patients who have attained puberty was the standard treatment, with younger children yet to reach puberty having no means of preserving their chances of fathering children. Taking testicular tissue samples from pre-pubescent patients will, it is hoped, allow the tissue to be re-implanted post chemotherapy treatment to effectively “kick start” the production of sperm.

Recently it was disclosed that a similar form of treatment for female patients is even more advanced. Moaza Alnatrooshi had her undeveloped ovary removed at the age of eight before undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Now 23 years old, the ovary has been restored to her body during surgery in London and it is hoped and expected that she will now be able to conceive normally, possibly without the need for IVF. If Miss Alnatrooshi is successful in becoming a mother later in her life, her treatment will offer hope to the young girls who currently face chemotherapy with no hope of salvaging the ability to have their own biological children in future.

If you have any concerns about IVF treatment, cryogenic preservation or fertility issues generally, contact Chris Thorne, a partner in the clinical negligence team on 0345 209 1461 or chris.thorne@clarkewillmott.com. Chris has unrivalled experience in this field through acting for the victims of the Bristol, Edinburgh and Sheffield sperm destruction cases.