An Italian woman has given birth after being transplanted with ovarian tissue that had been frozen for seven years.

Italian scientists told the annual meeting of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) this week that the significant length of time the tissue spent in 'freeze-storage' could have wider implications for women hoping to conceive.

Scroll down to see celebrities who have struggled to concieve

"We are not aware, so far, of any time limit for cryopreserved ovarian tissue," said Dr Gennarelli from Clinica Universitaria Sant'Anna in Turin, in a statement.

"We and other groups now believe that ovarian tissue freezing for fertility preservation should not be considered experimental but be recognised as a routine clinical practice to be offered in appropriate cases," he added.

"Age, for example, is one important consideration."

ovarian tissue freezing fertility preservatio

The news that pieces of a woman's ovary could be removed, stored and then replaced during surgery could signal new hope for older women wishing to become pregnant.

Recent research suggests that failed IVF attempts leads to a higher risk of depression among women.

According to The Telegraph, advancements in this field could effectively could effectively put a woman's menopause 'on ice'.

However, the report also highlighted that while delaying the menopause could avoid an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease (connected with end of woman's fertile life) it may raise the risk of breast and womb cancer.

The Italian case described by Dr Gennarelli was remarkable because - with a gap of seven years - it represents one of the longest time intervals yet between the date of tissue freezing and the date of successful transplantation.

"It demonstrates that pregnancy can be obtained by this technique even after several years of cryostorage," said Dr Gennarelli.


The birth is believed to be the 22nd in the world via this technique and has, says Gennarelli, become a key component of the management of fertility in cancer patients facing treatment with a high risk of ovarian failure.

In March 2010, following the patient's request and investigation for fertility restoration, 32 cortical tissue fragments were thawed and sutured to prepared sites.

Two months after the tissue grafting, some ovarian function returned and spontaneous follicular development was observed.

Over the following months spontaneous menstrual cycles were repeatedly evident and ovulation was confirmed in at least six cycles.

In July 2011, 15 months after the ovarian tissue transplantation, the patient became spontaneously pregnant, and a healthy baby was delivered in March 2012.

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  • Celine Dion

    Singer Celine tried for six years before conceiving her eldest son, Rene-Charles in 2001. She then battled on to have twi sons Eddy and Nelson in 2010 after another six failed rounds of IVF. "<a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>These treatments were truly hard on my wife's body. It wasn't simple at all</strong></a>," Celine's husband Rene said at the time.

  • Brooke Shields

    Brooke Shields spoke out about her struggle to conceive when it took six rounds of fertility treatment until she fell pregnant with her eldest daughter, Rowan. "<a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>The difficulty of IVF or of any fertility issues is the hope and the shattered hope, the dream that it might happen this time and then it doesn't happen</strong></a>."

  • Courteney Cox

    Actress Courteney and then husband David Arquette conceived their daughter Coco after IVF following several miscarriages. "<a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>In vitro is a wonderful thing that people can do in this day and age, and I'm lucky enough to be able to afford it</strong></a>."

  • Emma Thompson

    Actress Emma Thompson gave birth to daughter Gaia in 1999, thanks to IVF. Emma and husband Greg Wise later adopted Rawndan refugee, Tindy. <strong>"<a href="" target="_hplink">There's been an awful a lot of grief to get through in not being able to get pregnant again, but there are thousands and thousands of women like me who can't have children</a>."</strong>

  • Gabby Logan

    Sports presenter Gabby and husband Kenny conceived twin sons Lois and Reuben via IVF after a three year fertility battle. <strong>"<a href="" target="_hplink">We are both positive people so we didn't really get down when nothing happened. Every month, when I realised I wasn't pregnant, I'd think, 'Oh well. next month will be fine'. Sometimes I'd have a couple of days of feeling defeated, but I soon moved on</a>."</strong>

  • Penny Lancaster

    Rod Stewart's wife Penny tried for two years to conceive their second son Aiden. Penny fell pregnant after trying procedures in both the UK and the US. "<a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>IVF can be stressful, especially for the women with all the hormone injections and procedures</strong></a>."

  • Jane Seymour

    Actress Jane Seymour wrote a book about her fertility struggles, called, <em>Two at a Time: The Journey Through Pregnancy and Birth</em>.

  • Marcia Cross

    Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross started IVF soon after her marriage, and successfully conceived twins, Eden and Savannah. Marcia, as an actress on a high-rated show, acknowledged the high cost of IVF, telling <em>USA Today</em>, "<a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>it's very expensive and (requires) a lot of needles and shots</strong></a>."