Doctors at Army Hospital Research and Referral have found a procedure to help women cancer survivors conceive. Every year, cancer treatment causes premature menopause and infertility in thousands of women of reproductive age in India.
The eggs will be grown in a woman's forearm, which, the doctors at the hospital claim, is a first-of-its-kind procedure in the country.
"In January we will transplant her preserved ovarian tissue under the skin of her forearm to harvest eggs, which will help her conceive in future. This is the first time that this type of transplant is taking place in the country," said Lieutenant General Naresh Kumar, commandant, Army Hospital Research and Referral.
The ovarian tissue of cancer patients will be preserved in the lab before treatment, which can later be grafted on their forearm or abdomen when they would want to have children.
“The tissue will be pre-tested to avoid possibility of any cancer cells in them, and to help the ovarian tissue to produce eggs, specifics drugs will be administered to these women," said lieutenant-general Kumar.
The procedure brings a ray of hope for many couples, as premature menopause and infertility is a potential side-effect of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, etc.
"The woman, who is cancer-free, will undergo a surgery under local anaesthesia, wherein we'll implant an ovarian piece beneath the skin of her forearm. The eggs should develop after some days. She will notice a pea-sized lump at the transplant site, from where we'll extract eggs later for in-vitro fertilisation," said Kumar. The entire process is expected to take three to four months and costs between R1.5 lakh to R2 lakh.