Indian researchers help women grow eggs on arms

Doctors at Army Hospital Research and Referral here have preserved ovarian tissue of cancer patients which they will later graft on their forearm or abdomen when they desire to have children. Drugs are given to the patient to help the ovarian tissue to produce eggs.

"For the first time, in the month of January we will transplant in a female infertile patient her preserved ovarian tissue under the skin in her forearm. This will be done to harvest eggs which will help her to become a mother near future," Lieutenant General Naresh Kumar, commandant, Army Hospital Research and Referral said.

"This type of transplant is also happening for the first time in India," he added. Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and radical surgery, causes premature menopause and infertility in hundreds of thousands of women of reproductive age every year.

"Cancer can be devastating for men and women as its treatment makes them infertile. In this woman's case, we had cryopreserved her ovarian tissue in our lab before she went for cancer treatment. We tested it to rule out presence of cancer cells," Lieutenant Colonel Pankaj Talwar, IVF specialist with the ART clinic at the hospital, said.

"Now that she is completely free of cancer, we will under local anaesthesia implant a ovarian piece beneath the skin of her forearm.

"We will consider it successful and know that she has developed the eggs if after some days of the transplant, the patient notices a pea-size lump at the transplant site. We will extracts the eggs from the lump and the woman can attain pregnancy through in-vitro fertilisation," Talwar said.

The entire process is expected to take three to four months. Till date seven to eight babies have been born using this technique in different countries.

Doctors at the hospital have preserved the testicular tissue of two young cancer patients, sperm sample of 53 and ovarian tissue of 13 such patients.

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