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Fertility Preservation in Children and Adolescents: Where We Are and Where We Are Going.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review will describe current pediatric and adolescent fertility preservation methodologies and the ethical concerns surrounding these procedures, as well as highlight recent research that may pave the way for the development of new fertility preservation options.

RECENT FINDINGS: Research is ongoing to allow prepubertal patients, particularly those with testes, to be able to have biologic children in the future. Studies on sperm in vitro maturation highlight the importance of supporting the spermatogonial stem cell niche for the development of mature sperm. The live birth of a rhesus macaque from in vitro fertilization using prepubertal testicular tissue and in vivo matured sperm gives hope to future human births. For patients with ovaries, prior work has led to successful fertility but further research is underway to refine these techniques and optimize outcomes. Organoid scaffolds have shown promise when being used for in vitro oocyte maturation. For children and adolescents undergoing gonadotoxic treatment, such as chemotherapy, or hormonal treatment, such as gender-affirming hormone therapy, future fertility potential may be negatively impacted. It is recommended that fertility preservation (FP) be offered to these patients and families prior to undergoing treatment. Fertility preservation for postpubertal patients mimics that in adults. For prepubertal children, however, the options are limited and in some cases still experimental. It is essential that this work continues so that we may offer children and adolescents the right to an open future and preserve their fertility potential.

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