Discovery of follicles offers hope of babies for Turners syndrome girls

28 follicles per cubic millimetre. In theory this means there was a total count of between 600 and 54,000 follicles in the cortex of the whole of the ovary

Mr Hreinsson said: "Our results show a rapid decline of follicular density between the age of 12 years and 19 years in the subjects we studied. In view of the limited number of subjects in our study, further research is needed to confirm our results. However, on the basis of our results, we would recommend that the biopsy be performed at a young age, for example between 12 and 14 years old.

"At the same time, we cannot ignore the serious ethical considerations involved in operating on young girls for the purpose of cryopreserving ovarian tissue to preserve fertility. Careful attention must be given to informing the girls and their parents about the implications of the procedure and the chances of success later on."

Other researchers have shown that it is possible to transplant cryopreserved ovarian tissues back into women and that ovulation can occur as a result. However, so far no resulting pregnancies have been reported in humans.

Mr Hreinsson said: "We hope to be able to transplant the cryopreserved tissue for these patients within the next decade. The results of this study so far encourage us to continue with our research."

The study also enables the researchers to start to understand how and when follicles in Turners syndrome girls start to disappear. He said: "Our results give us a model to understand follicular atresia and we now have more information about the time frame in which the follicles disappear. The mechanisms involved remain to be elucidated."


Contact: Margaret Willson
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology

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