Nordic Centre for Fertility Preservation

Nordic Centre for Fertility Preservation

The Nordfertil project is a joint effort by scientists and university healthcare professionals in Nordic and Baltic countries to create a network of excellence with the aim of preserving future fertility and hormonal functions in young boys with disorders and treatments threatening testicular function.

The present project

The present project

The present project host participating centers from five Nordic countries and three Baltic countries.

more information

About Us

The present project

The present project involves centers from five Nordic countries and three Baltic countries, so far. In addition to combined research activities, we intend to include a training program for young researchers (basic and clinical science), annual meetings, seminars and an interactive website with information for scientists, and patients and their families.




The Nordfertil project is a joint effort by leading experts (scientists and university healthcare professionals) in Nordic and Baltic countries to create a network of excellence with the aim of preserving future fertility and hormonal functions in young boys with disorders and treatments threatening testicular function.


Information for families

Survival rates among childhood cancer patients have progressively increased over the past four decades, in particular as a result of the development of more effective cancer treatments. Three out of four children will be cured of their disease. However, success has come at a cost and some patients will suffer from adverse effects later on. One of these late effects may be treatment-induced infertility. Boys who have matured into puberty are offered sperm preservation before treatment starts. However, for boys before puberty there is as yet no procedure that may preserve fertility. Most childhood cancer treatments will have only a minor impact on future fertility, while some treatments are known to be very harmful as regards reproductive function. So far, boys facing such treatments have almost no chance to father their own biological children later in life.
To address the concerns of many patients and parents and to open a forum concentrating on infertility as a disease, or a treatment-related late effect in childhood cancer survivors, the “Nordic Network for Gonadal Preservation after Cancer Treatment in Children and Young Adults” was initiated in 2008 and resulted in recommendations concerning fertility preservation for girls/boys and young women/men with childhood cancer. Up to now, advances in females have been made, but a similar development is still missing for young boys. Therefore, the idea of establishing a scientific network in order to intensify and combine research efforts on fertility preservation for young boys was born. The network is named NORDFERTIL.


Patient info 2

Information for patients

To be added soon.


In addition to the research performed, NORDFERTIL will focus on the establishment of protocols for clinical applications. Therefore, the results obtained by evaluation of testicular biopsy material and cell culture experiments will be used to generate and/or optimize already existing protocols for clinical use in cooperation with all units included in NORDFERTIL.
The following questions will be addressed within the next years:





    • 1) Which are the best cryopreservation protocols as regards later differentiation of early male germ cells in vitro?


    • 2) Which are the best strategies to monitor cancer cell contamination in vitro?


    • 3) Which are the best strategies and culture conditions for human spermatogenesis in vitro?


    • 4) Which clinical efficacy and safety measures should be monitored?


Research and Education

Aims and outlook

We have established a network to initiate and form a “joint force” research strategy for fertility preservation among boys undergoing gonadotoxic oncological treatments in Nordic and Baltic countries.

NORDFERTIL will focus on:


A) Evaluation of all requirements needed to combine human testicular biopsy procedures in the Nordic and Baltic countries into a common research project with common high-quality control procedures (ethical, legal and logistic issues);

B) Evaluation of different techniques and strategies for differentiating early male germ cells into mature sperm, and optimization of current protocols for cryopreservation;

C) Education of young scientists and physicians in the field of reproductive medicine and biology in Northern Europe to a top world-class level.

Comments from a researcher

To be added soon!

Selected scientific publications

  • Stukenborg JB, Alves-Lopes, JP, Kurek M, Albalushi H, Reda, A, Keros, V, Töhönen V, Bjarnason, R, Romerius, P, Sundin, M, Norén Nyström, U, Langenskiöld, C, Vogt, H, Henningsohn, L, Mitchell, RT, Söder O, Petersen, C, Jahnukainen, K. Spermatogonial quantity in human prepubertal testicular tissue collected for fertility preservation prior to potentially sterilizing therapy. Hum Reprod. 2018 Jul 25. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dey240.
  • Stukenborg JB*, Jahnukainen K*, Hutka M, Mitchell RT. Cancer treatment in childhood and testicular function: the role of the somatic environment. R69-R87. doi: 10.1530/EC-17-0382. Epub 2018 Jan 19.
  • Poganitsch-Korhonen M*, Masliukaite I*, Nurmio M, Lähteenmäki P, van Wely M, van Pelt AM, Jahnukainen K, Stukenborg JB. Decreased spermatogonial quantity in prepubertal boys with leukaemia treated with alkylating agents. Leukemia. 2017 Jun;31(6):1460-1463. doi: 10.1038/leu.2017.76. Epub 2017 Mar 8.
  • Onofre J, Baert Y, Faes K, Goossens E Cryopreservation of testicular tissue or testicular cell suspensions: a pivotal step in fertility preservation. Hum Reprod Update. 2016 Nov;22(6):744-761. Epub 2016 Aug 27.
  • Jahnukainen K, Mitchell RT, Stukenborg JB. Testicular function and fertility preservation after treatment for haematological cancer. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2015 Jun;22(3):217-23.
  • Goossens E, Van Saen D, Tournaye H. Spermatogonial stem cell preservation and transplantation: from research to clinic. Hum Reprod. 2013 Apr;28(4):897-907.
  • Mitchell RT, Saunders PT, Sharpe RM, Kelnar CJ, Wallace WH. Male fertility and strategies for fertility preservation following childhood cancer treatment. Endocr Dev. 2009;15:101-34.


Scientific board members

The scientific board consists of two NORDFERTIL members from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Lithuania, and Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and one member from Iceland and the research coordinator. The board members are active researchers and/or physicians in the field of pediatric oncology/hematology or reproductive biology/medicine.


Participating clinical units


  1. Astrid Lindgrens barnsjukhus/Barnonkologi; Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, Q6:04, 17176 Stockholm
  2. Astrid Lindgrens barnsjukhus/Barnhematologi; Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Huddinge, B76, 14152 Huddinge
  3. Barn- och ungdomsmedicinska kliniken, Skånes universitetssjukhus, 221 85 Lund
  4. Barnkliniken/Barnonkologi, Drottning Silvias barn- och ungdomssjukhus, Sahlgrenska universitetssjukhuset, 416 85 Göteborg
  5. Barn- och ungdomskliniken, Linköping universitetssjukhus, BOND, 58185 Linköping
  6. Barnkliniken/Barnonkologi, Uppsala Akademiska sjukhuset, Barnavdelningen för blod- och tumörsjukdomar, 75185 Uppsala
  7. Barnkliniken/Barnonkologi, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, 90185 Umeå
  8. Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Huddinge, Kvinnokliniken, Reproduktionsmedicin, Novumhuset plan 4, 141 86 Stockholm



  1. Division of Hematology-Oncology, Children's Medical Center, Landspitali, 101 Reykjavik



  1. Department of Pediatrics, Tampere University hospital, PL 2000, 33521 Tampere
  2. Department of Pediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, PL 1777, 70211 Kuopio
  3. Department of Pediatrics, Turku University central hospital, Pl 52, 20521 Turku
  4. Department of Pediatrics, Oulu University Hospital, PL 23, 90029 OYS
  5. Children´s Hospital; Helsinki University Central Hospital, Pl 281, 00029 Helsinki


Lithuania: To be added.

Norway: To be added.

Denmark: To be added.

Estonia: To be added.

Latvia: To be added.


Funding organizations

The NORDFERTIL project is supported by the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, The Swedish Research Council, The Academy of Finland, and many other granting bodies.




NORDFERTIL, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Nordfertil Research Lab Stockholm, Childhood Cancer Research Unit, Bioclinicum, J9:30, Karolinska Institutet, and Karolinska University Hospital, Visionsgatan 4, SE-17164 Solna, Sweden


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