For many years, scientists have developed cryopreservation, which makes it possible to preserve ovarian tissues. Will this technique help delay menopause? The point of view of Odile Bagot, gynecologist and member of the TipsForWomens expert committee.
Gamete cryopreservation is a technique that allows the preservation of reproductive cells. It is particularly offered to patients affected by cancer, to enable them to have children despite treatments which can sometimes cause infertility.
Can cryopreservation delay menopause?
Gynecologist and reproductive specialist Kutluk Oktay of the Yale School of Medicine teamed up with University of Utah mathematician Sean Lawley to determine whether the technique could theoretically be applied to women in good health with the aim of delaying their menopause.
“Over the past few years, we have developed mathematical models of how the ovaries age and what triggers menopause” indicates the mathematician in a press release. With the help of Dr. Joshua Johnson of the University of Colorado School, they attempted to develop an online calculator to determine how many years it was possible to delay menopause.
Four criteria to take into account to delay menopause
To make this calculation, scientists need four specific criteria:
- The age of the patient at the time the tissue was preserved;
- The percentage of ovarian tissue removed;
- The percentage of follicles present;
- The number of tissue harvesting procedures over a lifetime.
According to their conclusions, the younger a woman is, with preserved ovarian tissue, the more menopause will be delayed. For example, in a young woman from whom a quarter of the ovarian tissue is removed with 80% of the follicles preserved, menopause could be delayed by more than 19 years!
Is it really possible to delay menopause by 20 years?
The researchers explain that the interest of their study is to allow women to keep their ovaries functioning and avoid menopause and the problems it can cause. But is it really possible? Questioned, Dr Odile Bagot recalls that menopause is triggered depending on the number of follicles in women.
“At birth, this number is estimated at two million. It decreases over time to reach 400,000 by adolescence” she explains first of all. “And it is estimated that at less than 10,000 follicles, menopause sets in“So for the specialist, what the scientists are saying is logical.”If the ovarian tissue allows a sufficient number of follicles to be preserved, it is logical that menopause does not set in, but from there it is achievable in reality… Nothing is less certain” she concludes.