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Hum Reprod Update. 2010 May-Jun;16(3):312-28. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmp054. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Options for fertility preservation in prepubertal boys.

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Department of Gynecology, Université Catholique de Louvain, Cliniques Universitaires St Luc, Avenue Hippocrate 10, Brussels, Belgium.



Fertility in adult life may be severely impaired by gonadotoxic therapies. For young boys who do not yet produce spermatozoa, cryopreservation of immature testicular tissue (ITT) is an option to preserve their fertility, albeit still experimental. This paper covers current options for ITT cryopreservation and fertility restoration.


Relevant studies were identified by an extensive Medline search of English and French language articles. Search terms were: gonadotoxicity, cytoprotection, cryopreservation, ITT, spermatogonia, testicular transplantation, testicular grafting and in vitro maturation (IVM).


Although no effective gonadoprotective drug is yet available for in vivo spermatogonial stem cell protection in humans, current evidence supports the feasibility of ITT cryopreservation before gonadotoxic treatment with a view to fertility preservation. Controlled slow freezing with dimethyl sulfoxide allows survival and proliferation of human spermatogonia after xenotransplantation, but only partial differentiation. Animal data look promising, since healthy offspring have been obtained after transplantation of frozen testicular cell suspensions or tissue pieces. However, none of the fertility restoration options from frozen tissue, i.e. cell suspension transplantation, tissue grafting and IVM have proved efficient and safe in humans as yet.


While additional evidence is required to define optimal conditions for ITT cryopreservation with a view to transplantation or IVM, the putative indications for such techniques, as well as their limitations according to disease, are outlined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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