Prepubescent girls with cancer do not have to give up the prospect of parenthood because of the effects of chemotherapy. Cancer patients as young as 5 can have their eggs removed and frozen before treatment, preserving their fertility, according to research by Israeli scientists. With childhood cancer survival rates climbing, that's good news for a growing number of patients.
Eggs, ovarian tissue, and fertilized embryos can be cultivated from adults, but young girls have only egg follicles, which do not develop until puberty. Researchers harvested immature eggs from girls aged 5 to 10, chemically matured them, then froze the eggs. The resulting material hasn't been thawed, but one researcher says he's encouraged, especially because the girls were so young.