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No Adverse Effects Seen After Testis Biopsy in Boys

In experimental approach to preserving fertility, freezing testis tissue from young boys studied

MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The biopsy of testicular tissue from prepubescent boys with cancer for cryopreservation did not cause serious adverse after-effects and may someday offer a way to preserve fertility, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in Human Reproduction.

Jill P. Ginsberg, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues offered parents of boys with malignancies, for which treatment threatened gonad damage and infertility, the option of testicular tissue preservation by freezing. (In this experimental approach, the tissue would later be re-implanted in the testes or matured in vivo.) The researchers collected data on intraoperative and seven-day post-operative effects of the biopsies and asked parents to complete a questionnaire on their decision whether or not to have the biopsy.

The researchers note that, of 24 boys who met the eligibility criteria for the biopsy, three were excluded for urgent treatment and 16 of the remaining 21 families, with boys ranging in age from 3 months to 14 years, decided to have the biopsy. In two further cases, the tumors were found not to be malignant. Ultimately, the remaining 14 boys had biopsies without negative effects, such as bleeding, orchitis, loss of a testis because of infection or bleeding, or excessive pain.

"If the pace of reproductive advances to date is any indicator of future successes, there is reason to be hopeful that the laboratory techniques developed for utilizing cryopreserved testicular tissue to restore fertility can be translated for use in human subjects," the authors write.

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