Nordic Centre for Fertility Preservation

Nordic Centre for Fertility Preservation

The Nordic centre for fertility preservation (NORDFERTIL) aims to develop new procedures to preserve the future fertility of young boys who are undergoing treatments or have disorders that may affect their long-term fertility.

About us

 

 

 

NORDFERTIL was founded in 2012 by a group of clinicians and scientists from across the Nordic countries. To date we have participating centres in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Our aim is to develop procedures to preserve the future fertility and hormone function of young boys who are undergoing treatments or have disorders that may affect their long-term fertility

In addition to our research activities, we aim to train the next generation of young researchers through annual meetings and seminars as well as provide the most up-to-date information for researchers, patients and their families.


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What we do

 

What is fertility preservation?

Fertility preservation is the process of saving or protecting germ cells (eggs or sperm) so that a person can use them to have biological children in the future.


Why is fertility preservation important

Certain types of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy or radiotherapy, can cause infertility. This is because the drugs or radiation that are used to target the fast-growing cancer cells can also target the sperm-producing cells which are known as spermatogonial stem cells. The infertility may be temporary or permanent and depends on the type and dose of cancer treatment you have received and your age. Cancer treatments are becoming more effective which means the rates of cancer survival are increasing leading to more focus on the potential side-effects of treatment such as infertility. While there are fertility preservation options available for some patients, for others, including young boys, there are no such options. This is why fertility preservation projects such as NORDFERTIL and their continued research are so important.

Cross-section of a 9 months old human testis.

Cross-section of a 12 years old human testis.


Patient info 2

How does fertility preservation work?

Currently available methods for male fertility preservation focus on the cryopreservation (freezing) of sperm or testis tissue. For those who can produce a viable sperm sample, sperm freezing is the most effective method of preserving fertility. For individuals do not produce viable sperm in their ejaculate, for example those with azoospermia or young people who are unable to produce an ejaculate, testicular tissue freezing is an alternative approach. This is known as testicular tissue cryopreservation. Below we have summarised the different approaches for fertility preservation in males with a focus on young boys. We have included methods that are currently established in the clinics and those that are still undergoing research.

 


FAQ

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:

 

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    • 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?

 

Our research

All of our research takes place at the NORDFERTIL research lab at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. At the moment there are no clinically available methods for preserving fertility in prepubertal boys, so our research is focused on the storage and use of testis tissue from young boys. We are particularly interested in the spermatogonial stem cells in these tissues and how they can be developed into sperm. Some of the questions we are interested in answering include:

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Which are the best methods for cryopreserving testis tissue to protect the spermatogonial stem cells

- How can we monitor cancer cell contamination in cryopreserved testis tissue?

What are the culture conditions required for human spermatogenesis in vitro?


Meet the team

To be added soon!


Recent publications

Partners

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.

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Participating clinical units

Sweden:

  1. Astrid Lindgrens barnsjukhus/Barnonkologi; Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Solna
  2. Astrid Lindgrens barnsjukhus/Barnhematologi; Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Huddinge
  3. Barn- och ungdomsmedicinska kliniken, Skånes Universitetssjukhus, Lund
  4. Barnkliniken/Barnonkologi, Drottning Silvias barn- och ungdomssjukhus, Sahlgrenska Universitetssjukhuset, Göteborg
  5. Barnonkologi, BOND, H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victorias barn- och ungdomssjukhus, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping
  6. Barnkliniken/Barnonkologi, Uppsala Akademiska sjukhuset, Barnavdelningen för blod- och tumörsjukdomar Uppsala
  7. Barnkliniken/Barnonkologi, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå
  8. Reproduktionsmedicin, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Huddinge

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Iceland:

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

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Finland:

  1. Department of Pediatrics, Tampere University Hospital
  2. Department of Pediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital
  3. Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Central Hospital
  4. Department of Pediatrics, Oulu University Hospital
  5. Children´s Hospital; Helsinki University Central Hospital

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Lithuania: To be added.

Norway: To be added.

Denmark: To be added.

Estonia: To be added.

Latvia: To be added.

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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.

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Contact

Research:

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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