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Gonadal Tissue Cryopreservation for a Girl With Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

Finney, E. L.; Johnson, E. K.; Chen, D.; Lockart, B. A.; Yerkes, E. B.; Rowell, E. E.; Madonna, M. B.; Cheng, E. Y.; Finlayson, C. A.

J Endocr Soc. 2019 Apr 23; 3(5):887-891

Abstract

Individuals with differences/disorders of sex development (DSD) have increased rates of infertility. For children and youth undergoing prophylactic gonadectomy for malignancy risk, our institution offers gonadal tissue cryopreservation, an experimental technique to preserve fertility cryopotential. An 11-year-old girl with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome presented for evaluation for fertility preservation in the setting of a planned bilateral gonadectomy at an outside institution. At presentation, the patient had begun puberty with an elevated serum androgen level and was experiencing undesired virilization. She expressed a strong female gender identity, an understanding of the various treatment options, and a preference for gonadectomy to prevent further virilization. After thorough counseling with the patient and family in our institution's multidisciplinary DSD clinic, she underwent bilateral gonadectomy with gonadal tissue cryopreservation. Her gonadal pathologic examination demonstrated well-developed peripubertal testes, with present, albeit decreased, numbers of spermatogonial germ cells, decreased Leydig cells, and nonspecific degenerative changes. The patient and her family chose to maintain the cryopreserved tissue for the patient's potential future use. To the best of our knowledge, the present case is the first reported case of gonadal tissue cryopreservation in a patient with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome. Storage of gonadal tissue is a feasible method of germ cell preservation in patients with DSD undergoing gonadectomy, although further research advances are required to facilitate development of this tissue into mature gametes capable of biological fertility.

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