New advances in ovarian autotransplantation to restore fertility in cancer patients

Mahmoud Salama, Teresa K. Woodruff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Human ovary autotransplantation is a promising option for fertility preservation of young women and girls undergoing gonadotoxic treatments for cancer or some autoimmune diseases. Although experimental, it resulted in at least 42 healthy babies worldwide. According to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a systematic literature review was performed for all relevant full-text articles published in English from 1 January 2000 to 01 October 2015 in PubMed to explore the latest clinical and research advances of human ovary autotransplantation. Human ovary autotransplantation involves ovarian tissue extraction, freezing/thawing, and transplantation back into the same patient. Three major forms of human ovary autotransplantation exist including (a) transplantation of cortical ovarian tissue, (b) transplantation of whole ovary, and (c) transplantation of ovarian follicles (artificial ovary). According to the recent guidelines, human ovary autotransplantation is still considered experimental; however, it has unique advantages in comparison to other options of female fertility preservation. Human ovary autotransplantation (i) does not need prior ovarian stimulation, (ii) allows immediate initiation of cancer therapy, (iii) can restore both endocrine and reproductive ovarian functions, and (iv) may be the only fertility preservation option suitable for prepubertal girls or for young women with estrogen-sensitive malignancies. As any other fertility preservation option, human ovary autotransplantation has both advantages and disadvantages and may not be feasible for all cases. The major challenges facing this option are how to avoid the risk of reintroducing malignant cells and how to prolong the lifespan of ovarian transplant as well as how to improve artificial ovary results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-822
Number of pages16
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Cancer
  • Cryopreservation
  • Female fertility preservation
  • In vitro maturation
  • Oncofertility
  • Ovary autotransplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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