Tag Archives: Chemotherapy

A Cancer Patient Fathers a Child After 22 Years

A man who had his sperm frozen whilst undergoing treatment for leukaemia as a teenager, has, at 38, become the father of a healthy baby girl. Christopher Biblis from Charlotte, North Carolina, was 16 when he underwent radiotherapy treatment which would have left him sterile had his doctors not recommended he have his sperm frozen cryogenically for future use. In early March, his daughter Stella was born having been conceived using the technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique developed long after Biblis’ sperm had been frozen in 1986. 

’From my life being saved to being able to create a life…It’s truly a miracle’ Mr Biblis told ABC News. Stella was conceived after doctors selected the healthiest of Mr Biblis’ sperm cells after defrosting, and injected them directly into ten eggs cells which had been harvested from Melodie Biblis, Mr Biblis’s wife. Seven of the ten eggs fertilised successfully and two were implanted, leaving the other five for future treatment should the couple wish to have more children. Only one embryo survived and Stella is now a healthy one month old baby.

The fertility specialist treating the Biblis’s was Dr Richard L. Wing, founder of the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH). He said ‘I had no concern about working with old sperm – bovine and equine sperm has been frozen for long periods and has resulted in successful gestations’. The ICSI method brings an increased chance of conception beyond that expected in conventional IVF procedures where sperm and eggs are mixed to fertilise spontaneously. ‘They achieved pregnancy on their first cycle of ICSI…We had every reason to expect a perfect baby but are thrilled nonetheless’ said Dr Wing.

Last February, it was reported that a Canadian couple successfully conceived a baby boy after using sperm that had been stored 22 years, two months and two weeks. The longest-known storage period for sperm resulting in a live birth worldwide is 28 years, according to a 2005 data report in the American journal Fertility and Sterility.
Childhood cancer treatment has improved dramatically in the last decade resulting in a greater number of survivors. At the same time, improvements in the field of assisted conception are providing a great chance for male cancer survivors to father children of their own after potentially fertility-damaging treatment.
There is a relatively small window of opportunity before young male cancer patients begin treatment, so it is essential that health care providers are prepared and diligent about providing all options available in regard to improving future fertility.
There should be improved awareness of sperm banking and future fertility treatments that may impact the cancer patients quality of life.
Rotunda Sperm Bank offers sperm banking facilities to cancer patients and we have many cancer patients who have preserved their semen samples at Rotunda.

A man who had his sperm frozen whilst undergoing treatment for leukaemia as a teenager, has, at 38, become the father of a healthy baby girl. Christopher Biblis from Charlotte, North Carolina, was 16 when he underwent radiotherapy treatment which would have left him sterile had his doctors not recommended he have his sperm frozen cryogenically for future use. In early March, his daughter Stella was born having been conceived using the technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique developed long after Biblis’ sperm had been frozen in 1986. 

’From my life being saved to being able to create a life…It’s truly a miracle’ Mr Biblis told ABC News. Stella was conceived after doctors selected the healthiest of Mr Biblis’ sperm cells after defrosting, and injected them directly into ten eggs cells which had been harvested from Melodie Biblis, Mr Biblis’s wife. Seven of the ten eggs fertilised successfully and two were implanted, leaving the other five for future treatment should the couple wish to have more children. Only one embryo survived and Stella is now a healthy one month old baby.

The fertility specialist treating the Biblis’s was Dr Richard L. Wing, founder of the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH). He said ‘I had no concern about working with old sperm – bovine and equine sperm has been frozen for long periods and has resulted in successful gestations’. The ICSI method brings an increased chance of conception beyond that expected in conventional IVF procedures where sperm and eggs are mixed to fertilise spontaneously. ‘They achieved pregnancy on their first cycle of ICSI…We had every reason to expect a perfect baby but are thrilled nonetheless’ said Dr Wing.

Last February, it was reported that a Canadian couple successfully conceived a baby boy after using sperm that had been stored 22 years, two months and two weeks. The longest-known storage period for sperm resulting in a live birth worldwide is 28 years, according to a 2005 data report in the American journal Fertility and Sterility.

Childhood cancer treatment has improved dramatically in the last decade resulting in a greater number of survivors. At the same time, improvements in the field of assisted conception are providing a great chance for male cancer survivors to father children of their own after potentially fertility-damaging treatment.

There is a relatively small window of opportunity before young male cancer patients begin treatment, so it is essential that health care providers are prepared and diligent about providing all options available in regard to improving future fertility.

There should be improved awareness of sperm banking and future fertility treatments that may impact the cancer patients quality of life.

Rotunda Sperm Bank offers sperm banking facilities to cancer patients and  many young cancer patients have preserved their semen samples at Rotunda.

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Baby after whole ovary transplant

A 39-year old woman has become the first to give birth following a whole
ovary transplant. Susanne Butscher received an intact ovary from her fertile
twin sister last year, during a landmark operation carried out by Dr Sherman
Silber of the Infertility Centre of St Louis, Missouri US. Mrs Butscher
became infertile after her ovaries failed at the age of 15. To date, eight
women have given birth subsequent to receiving small sections of ovarian
tissue. Yet this – the ninth case – has been lauded as a pioneering
achievement in infertility treatment.picture-54picture-64picture-73picture-83picture-93
The birth of baby Maja last week should be celebrated, according to Dr
Silber, during what he has labelled an ‘infertility epidemic’ that in the UK
alone is affecting upwards of 100,000 women. Although a complicated
procedure (the operation involves the reattachment of arteries one third of
a millimetre in diameter), the transplant renews the ability to conceive
naturally. It also restores hormone levels to those necessary for driving
the menstrual cycle. Such hormones, like oestrogen and progesterone, also
protect against osteoporosis. 
   Nonetheless, the majority of women affected by an early menopause are
unlikely to have a fertile twin sister capable of donating an ovary. This
would be necessary in order to avoid donor-rejection of foreign tissue, and
to circumvent the need for immuno-suppressive drugs. But Dr Silber claims
that, from a social perspective, it will be an attractive option for women
wishing to extend fertility into their forties and fifties, perhaps to
favour a career. However the British Fertility Society (BFS) is opposed to
what it calls an ‘unethical application’ of the operation, suggesting
current methods, like egg storage, are less problematic. Laurence Shaw,
consultant in reproductive medicine at the London Bridge Fertility Centre,
London, and spokesperson for the BFS, said: ‘I would have thought that the
long-term freeze-storing of an ovary would cause as much harm as the
deterioration due to age itself’.
   The BFS instead endorses a more practical application of the operation.
Women that face invasive cancer therapies like radiotherapy and chemotherapy
(both of which reduce fertility) could have an ovary frozen pending an
improvement in their condition. In such cases, ovary storage could be more
suitable than egg extraction, as egg follicles must first be matured through
a lengthy hormone treatment, causing unwanted delays to chemotherapy.

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Breast cancer recurrence not increased with controlled ovarian stimulation

Ovarian stimulation using gonadotropins and letrozole to preserve fertility in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy is unlikely to increase their risk for recurrence, say US researchers.

Kutluk Oktay, from the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, and colleagues evaluated 215 women with breast cancer for fertility preservation before adjuvant chemotherapy. Overall, 79 of the women underwent controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) for embryo or oocyte preservation, while the remainder served as controls.

An average of 10.3 oocytes were retrieved from COS patients, with 5.97 embryos or oocytes cryopreserved per patient.

The time between surgery and chemotherapy was significantly longer for patients who underwent IVF than control patients, at 45.08 versus 33.46 days. In patients who had COS, peak estradiol levels ranged from 58.4 to 1,166 pg/ml.

In the COS group, median follow-up after chemotherapy was 23.4 months, compared with 33.05 months in the control group. Recurrence occurred in 3.8 and 8.1 percent of COS and control patients, respectively, at a nonsignificant hazard ratio of 0.56.

The team concludes: “COS before embryo or oocyte cryopreservation is unlikely to result in a significant increase in recurrence of breast cancer compared with those who did not undergo ovarian stimulation, at least in the short term.”

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Laboratory Grown Eggs

A major breakthrough by British scientists could bring new hope for women facing the heartbreak of infertility. For the first time a team has managed to grow hundreds of eggs in the laboratory using a new technique which could help cancer patients whose treatment can leave them infertile. It would also allow thousands more women to wait until middle age to have children.
The scientists from Edinburgh University have shown that immature eggs can be frozen, grown and matured in the lab. The process could lead to women having pieces of ovary containing the immature eggs removed and stored. Much later on, they could be thawed, fertilised and finally implanted into the womb. Some say it is morally wrong for a woman to do so and have them fertilised years later in order to delay having children while she pursues a career. However, scientists hope the new process will revolutionise fertility preservation for women because it will allow them to store many more eggs than they can under traditional IVF techniques. And, because immature eggs survive the freezing process much better than the mature ones used in IVF, it is much more likely that older women will be able to conceive using them. It brings forward the prospect that thousands of women will use the technique to side-step the menopause, delaying motherhood for the sake of their careers.
The process, which could be available in five years, also provides hope for cancer sufferers who at the moment are often left infertile following chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Powerful anti-cancer drugs can destroy follicles in the ovaries, wiping out any possibility of women having children. At the moment, these women have a piece of ovary removed, frozen and then re-transplanted after their cancer treatment. But there is always the danger that the cancer could be reintroduced by the implant.
The new technique means women’s immature eggs contained in the patch of ovary could be grown in the lab and then screened for cancer before being used in IVF treatment.
There are also hopes it will provide a rich source of eggs for scientists to study for clues on ways to treat a range of diseases.
There is a shortage of human eggs for medical research, and if the technique works it would bypass the controversy over the use of animal-human ‘hybrid’ embryos. The research, carried out by an Edinburgh University team led by Dr Evelyn Telfer,has been published in the journal Human Reproduction. “This is a significant step in developing immature eggs to maturity outside the body,” said Dr Telfer. “Women who face infertility as a result of chemotherapy, or who want to put their biological clock on hold, could benefit from this system. “However, there is a lot more research to be carried out before this technique could be safely applied within a clinical setting.”

Last year, Canadian scientists announced the first birth of a child created from a human egg matured in the laboratory. However, they did not use the same “primordial follicles” studied by the researchers from Edinburgh. These are the tiny egg-bearing pockets within the ovaries that are present in their millions at birth, but gradually die off over the course of a woman’s life. They represent a woman’s fertility “battery” which once depleted cannot be recharged. Many remain dormant, but some go on to mature and eventually release their eggs in preparation for fertilisation. For the first time, the team led by Dr Telfer has succeeded in growing primordial follicles to a late stage of maturation in the lab. They took pieces of ovary containing the follicles from six volunteer women who were giving birth by caesarean section. These were then exposed to a chemical that promotes growth, similar to the one that functions in the ovaries. Around a third of them survived and went on to reach the advanced ‘antral’ stage of development. At this stage, the follicles are filled with fluid and contain eggs almost ready to be fertilised. It means that it could soon be possible to grow hundreds of eggs in the laboratory.

The Canadian team which managed to create a child from immature eggs was working with only around a dozen. Another advantage is that the follicles mature much more quickly in the lab than they do in the ovary. The scientists do not yet know whether eggs – or oocytes, to give them their technical name – matured in this way are completely normal and suitable for in-vitro fertilisation. But animal studies suggest they are. The next step is to use hormones and other substances to try to nudge the ‘antral’ eggs on to the next stage of maturation, and then test the technique on humans. “We believe there’s good evidence that we can get normal oocytes, but of course you would never apply this technique clinically until you are sure,” said Dr Telfer.
“We’re seeking funding for further research to bridge that gap. It might take five to ten years from now before we get to the stage of a clinical trial.” Dr Jane Stewart, consultant in reproductive medicine at the Newcastle Fertility Centre, said:
“This work increases our understanding of the maturation of human eggs in the lab and takes us a step nearer the goal of strong immature eggs for fertility preservation for women.”

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