Establishing an Institutional Gonadal Tissue Cryopreservation Protocol for Patients with Differences of Sex Development

Courtney J. Harris, Kristine S. Corkum, Courtney Finlayson, Erin E. Rowell, Monica M. Laronda, Molly B. Reimann, Elizabeth B. Yerkes, Earl Y. Cheng, Emilie K. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose:Many individuals with differences of sex development experience subfertility. We describe a novel gonadal tissue cryopreservation protocol for those individuals.Materials and Methods:Before 2018 patients with differences of sex development electing gonadal tissue cryopreservation were enrolled in a cancer focused protocol. Thereafter, our hospital developed a protocol specifically for these patients undergoing gonadectomy due to neoplasia risk. Protocol development steps and procedures are reported. A retrospective chart review was conducted for patient characteristics and cryopreservation choices.Results:During the institutional review board approval process there were multidisciplinary meetings with stakeholders. The main concerns discussed included preoperative counseling, pathological evaluation and final tissue disposition. Detailed multidisciplinary preoperative counseling is provided regarding potential gonadal tissue cryopreservation for patients undergoing gonadectomy. For enrolled patients the gonad is bisected after removal, with half being sent to pathology and half being processed for cryopreservation. If neoplasia is noted, cryopreserved tissue is recalled for further pathological analysis. Postoperative counseling is performed after pathology results are available, and the final gonadal tissue cryopreservation decision is made. During the study period 7 patients with 5 diagnoses and a median age of 10.99 years (IQR 1.29 to 14.84) elected to attempt gonadal tissue cryopreservation. Of the patients 4 (57%) had germ cells and elected to store tissue.Conclusions:Gonadal tissue cryopreservation at the time of gonadectomy is feasible for patients with differences of sex development at risk for gonadal neoplasia. The protocol described represents a template for institutions wishing to offer gonadal tissue cryopreservation to patients electing gonadectomy. More than half of patients thus far have cryopreserved gonadal tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1054-1061
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • disorders of sex development
  • fertility preservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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