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Dr. Carolyn Schweitzer and her son

By guest writer, Dr. Carolyn Schweitzer, from MommyInTheMiddle.com

A New Way To Stop Your Biological Clock

It looks like researchers have found yet a new way for women to increase their chances of getting pregnant after 40 by stopping their biological clocks.

According to Dr. Sherman Silber—a surgeon in St. Louis who pioneered microsurgery in the 1970’s and has been at the forefront of ART research—freezing ovaries will soon be as medically mainstream as freezing eggs.

It was only last October the American Society of Reproductive Medicine made the controversial announcement that oocyte cryopreservation (freezing of unfertilized human eggs) was no longer experimental.

In fact, British fertility expert, Dr. Gillian Lockwood (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/health/article-2238592/Egg-freezing-fathers-graduation-present-daughter-claims-leading-fertility-expert NULL.html), took to the next level by suggesting that “egg freezing should be every father’s graduation gift to his daughter”.


Works Like A Skin Graft

Dr. Silber describes an ovary-freezing technique in which a single ovary is removed and the outer one-millimeter — which contains all the eggs — is dissected away.

This layer is then sliced into about 20 strips (cryopreservation works better on the smaller pieces). The frozen strips are thawed as needed and surgically reattached to the woman’s remaining ovary, sort of like a skin graft.

The procedure was originally developed as a means of preserving fertility in cancer and autoimmune patients.


Producing Eggs For The Next 7 Years

While it was speculated that the frozen tissue could restore fertility for a matter of months, Dr. Silber has found that a grafted ovary can actually produce eggs for about seven years.

With each surgery using around 4 strips, a woman could have enough tissue in the freezer to extend her fertile years by …well, you do the math!


A Chance to Delay or Reverse Menopause

Even more compelling is the fact that reattaching frozen ovarian tissue could also delay or reverse menopause. As long as a woman can keep returning to the “bank” for fresh strips of tissue, she’ll continue to ovulate and have a normal menstrual cycle.

In theory, this method will be infinitely more powerful than hormone replacement therapy for women facing challenges of menopause, or wanting to conceive after 40. And way more controversial.


The Downside of Ovarian Tissue Freezing

As compelling as it is, freezing ovarian tissue shares many of the drawbacks of egg freezing, such as expense and lack of insurance coverage, as well as the following:

  • The odds of success correspond to the age of the tissue when it’s frozen Freezing ovarian tissue is better suited for a younger women planning ahead than for a woman of 38 who fears time is running out.
  • Frozen ovaries can’t be shared between women of different genetic makeup. The ovarian tissue must be the woman’s own, or from a twin or other relative who’s a close genetic match.
  • Just like egg freezing a few years ago, freezing ovarian tissue is still considered experimental. Currently only around 20 babies have been born worldwide as a result of this new technique.

Egg freezing only took a few years to move from experimental to mainstream, radically increasing the potential for women to delay pregnancy until after 40.

Freezing one’s ovaries won’t be far behind.


Notes For This Blog:

Dr. Carolyn Schweitzer gave birth at the age of 46 and founded www.MommyInTheMiddle.com (http://www NULL.MommyInTheMiddle NULL.com). For her full bio, click here (http://www NULL.mommyinthemiddle NULL.com/about-me/).

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2 Responses to Delay Motherhood To Midlife Via Ovary Freezing

  1. Lylas says:

    Wow, this is great news. I sure wish it was available when I was in my 20’s. What a great way to ‘bank’ your eggs in the event of an illness.

  2. Me too! When I think of all of the anxiety and stress in my 30’s, wondering if I was going to meet Mr. Right on time, I feel that these new technological advancements can really enable women to make positive and right choices for themselves.

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