Sveafertil is a Swedish national study dedicated to fertility preservation in girls and young women who are in high risk of infertility as a side effect of medical treatments.
Some life-saving medical treatments can have serious side effects. For example, treatments for cancer and therapies for bone marrow transplantations can damage the ovaries. Ovaries harbor immature eggs and are an essential part of the reproductive system in women. If the damage caused by treatments is extensive, ovaries could be permanently harmed. This could lead to difficulties getting pregnant and infertility later in life. If the patient is very young at the time of treatments, puberty could also be affected, as healthy ovaries are essential for development to sexual maturity.
For adult women, fertility can be preserved by collecting and freezing (cryopreserving) mature eggs before the damaging treatments are started. If the patient is a young girl who has not gone through puberty yet, there are no mature eggs that could be cryopreserved. For the young patient, ovarian tissue containing immature eggs can be collected and cryopreserved instead. Cryopreservation of ovarian tissue is an established method for adult women to preserve fertility. For children, the method is less studied, and it is not a routinely provided clinical treatment yet. More research is needed to understand the possibilities and limitations of fertility preservation in girls.
Sveafertil is a fertility preservation study for girls and young women that has received an ethical approval from the Swedish Ethical Review Authority. The project brings together all pediatric oncology and hematology units in Sweden, thereby giving all girls and young women in very high risk of treatment induced infertility the possibility to preserve their fertility. Sveafertil was initiated in 2020 and serves two main functions:
- Sveafertil enables patients to clinically cryopreserve a piece of their ovarian tissue for their own possible later use in fertility treatments
- Sveafertil carries out fundamental research on child ovarian structure and function to understand the possibilities and limitations of fertility preservation in children