National Ovarian and Testicular Tissue Transport and Cryopreservation Service (NOTTCS)

The National Ovarian and Testicular Tissue Transport and Cryopreservation Service (NOTTCS) enables healthcare professionals from across the country to offer ovarian and testicular tissue cryopreservation to patients who are at risk of losing fertility because of their cancer or other serious disease or its treatment and who would otherwise not have access because of where they live.

Specialities

  • Service for retrieval and transport  of ovarian and testicular tissue to centralised centre with expertise in processing and storage.
  • Specialised fertility preservation counselling for patients
  • Specialised fertility preservation advisory support for health professionals
  • Provision of education resources for health professionals and for patients
  • Transport service for gonadal tissue prior to grafting.

The process for this service is as follows:

  • Local gynaecologists, urologists and fertility specialists undertake ovarian tissue harvest and testicular tissue extraction, at their centres 
  • The tissue is then transported for processing and cryopreservation at The Royal Women’s Hospital and then stored at the Women's and Royal Melbourne Hospital IVF laboratory
  • Following the multidisciplinary decision to graft the tissue in future, the tissue may be transported back to the local unit. Alternatively, the grafting surgery can be performed at the Women's.

This new service also offers educational resources, to assist with all aspects of fertility preservation – for both patients and healthcare providers. These include patient information (hard copy and electronic), information on referral pathways, and telephone or video calling with the team.

In addition, fertility preservation co-ordination will be available for advice, consultations, to organise the transportation process and arrange follow-up.

Background

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is the only fertility preserving option available for young girls and for women who need to commence cancer treatment without any delay. This form of fertility preservation is no longer considered experimental for post-pubertal girls and women, and there are now several births reported after grafting of prepubertal tissue. Testicular tissue cryopreservation is the only  preserving option for young boys. It is still considered experimental with best practice being within a program with ethical guidelines.

Gonadal tissue cryopreservation requires specific technical and scientific expertise. There are few centres in Australia able to provide this service and that also have a proven track record with tissue cryopreservation, survival and grafting. The Women's/MIVF unit has reported five livebirths after grafting of ovarian tissue and this demonstrates the viability of this process in our hands.

There is a significant lack of opportunity for regional and rural patients who need medical fertility preservation.The service is partially funded by Sony Foundation Australia. Sony Foundation Australia is the charitable arm of the Sony Group of Companies in Australia.

Clinical inclusion

  • Patients planning medical treatment that puts their fertility at risk and for whom gonadal tissue freezing is indicated. 

Clinical exclusion

  • Patients not deemed suitable for this service by an oncologist or health care provider or where the patient does not wish to be referred.

Triage

Clinician led triage.

Referral

Please email The National Ovarian and Testicular Tissue Transport and Cryopreservation Service (NOTTCS) at the contact address given on this page.   

Urgent referrals

Please call the NOTTCS contact phone number. 

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