Egg freezing has gotten much of the attention when it comes to delaying childbirth, but scientists say there might be a better option: ovarian tissue freezing.

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In this outpatient procedure, a part of ovarian tissue is removed and frozen to be later transplanted back into the body when a woman is ready to get pregnant. Considered an experimental method, a new study claims that about four out of 10 women who opted for the procedure have successfully had children later in life.

Dr. Kutluk Oktay first performed the procedure in 1999, and along with his study co-author Dr. Fernanda Pacheco, analyzed research about ovarian tissue freezing between then and 2016. They found that in 17 years, 84 births have resulted from 309 instances of ovarian tissue freezing. The procedure was also able to restore reproductivity and help reverse signs of menopause in two out of three women, with resumed menstruation, follicular growth, or fertility. In fact, about one-third of participants required In Vitro Fertilization while the rest were able to have children naturally.

"Despite the clinical progress within the past two decades, the procedure still remains in the experimental realm," Pacheco and Oktay write in the report, according to a release. "Now, women considering this procedure to preserve fertility and postpone childbearing have more information at their disposal. Given these recent data, ovarian tissue cryopreservation should be considered as a viable option for fertility preservation."

According to the Center for Human Reproduction, doctors only extract about 10 eggs during one visit for egg or embryo freezing. However, hundreds and even thousands of eggs can be obtained through one visit for ovarian tissue extraction. What’s more, the experimental procedure can be be done quickly, while one cycle of egg or embryo freezing can take weeks to complete. Currently, the procedure is recommended for younger cancer patients who have not started puberty.

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“The procedure is superior to egg freezing as it can also reverse menopause and restore natural fertility," said Oktay in a statement. "The next frontier is to explore the procedure's potential in delaying childbearing among healthy women, not just cancer patients."

While fertility treatments offer hope to those who might not otherwise be able to have children, they often come with a very high price tag. According to Parenting, the cost to freeze ovarian tissue will run $10,000 while egg freezing can reach $20,000 or more.

As we previously wrote, women are now delaying having children until much later.  The CDC reports that last year, the birth rate for women between 40 and 44 years old increased to 11.4 births per 1,000 females. Women in their mid to late 30s experienced a 2 percent bump in 2016 from the previous year, making it the highest rate for this age group since 1962.

See Also:

Women Now Waiting Until Their 30s To Have Children Despite Decline in Fertility Later In Life

Experimental Study May Eliminate Male Infertility In Pediatric Cancer Survivors​