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Fifteen year follow-up of embryos cryopreserved in cancer patients for fertility preservation

  • Fertility Preservation
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Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Determine the outcome of embryo cryopreservation in female oncology patients


The outcomes of IVF/ICSI cycles in oncology patients over 15 years in a University Teaching Hospital.


Forty-two oncology patients (mean 31.9 ± 3.9 years) underwent embryo cryopreservation treatment (n = 33 IVF, n = 6 ICSI). Controlled ovarian stimulation with GnRH antagonist protocol (n = 34; 81 %) yielded fewer oocytes than GnRH agonist protocol (n = 8; 19 %) (9.4 ± 6.3 vs. 15.3 ± 8.9; p = 0.04) respectively. There was no significant difference in mean (±SD) duration of ovarian stimulation (11.6 ± 2.6 vs.10.6 ± 2.7), median gonadotrophin dose (1950 vs. 1670 IU), median day 5–6 oestradiol level (1124 vs.1129 pmol/l) or embryo yield (6.2 ± 4.1 vs. 8.8 ± 4.3; p = 0.07) between GnRH antagonist and agonist treatment cycles respectively. Thirty-nine patients cryopreserved embryos and three had their cycle cancelled. During this study period, of those who cryopreserved embryos, 5 patients underwent 9 frozen-thaw cycles (13 %), resulting in 2 live births (1 twin, 1 singleton, live birth rate 22 %). Six patients died (15 %), 3 conceived naturally (8 %) and 2 couples separated (5 %). Fourteen patients discarded their embryos (36 %). Twenty-two patients’ (56 %) have embryos remaining in storage.


This study demonstrates that embryo cryopreservation in female oncology patients gives a satisfactory live birth rate. However, there are concerns regarding cost-effectiveness, resulting from high disposal/non-usage of embryos, and further studies are required.

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Finally, we would like to thank all of the IVF staff at the Edinburgh Reproductive and Endocrine Fertility Centre for their support with this study.

Authors roles

JB contributed to the conception and design, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, and drafted the article. JT and ND contributed to conception and design, acquisition of data and were involved in the critical revision of the intellectual content of the manuscript.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

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Correspondence to K. J. Thong.

Additional information

Capsule Only a minority of cryopreserved embryos in female oncology patients over a fifteen year period were replaced.

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Barcroft, J., Dayoub, N. & Thong, K.J. Fifteen year follow-up of embryos cryopreserved in cancer patients for fertility preservation. J Assist Reprod Genet 30, 1407–1413 (2013).

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