Development of a new reproductive tissue cryopreservation clinical service for children: the Oxford programme.
Lakhoo K., Davies J., Chakraborty S., Berg S., Tennyson R., Fowler D., Manek S., Verrill C., Lane S.
PURPOSE: This article describes the development of a new reproductive tissue cryopreservation clinical service for children at high risk of infertility in the NHS during times of severe financial constraints in the health service. METHOD: A development plan with two phases was drawn up. Phase 1 restricted the service to childhood cancer patients referred to the Oxford Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Principle Treatment Centre. It was estimated that there would be 10 patients/year and used existing staff and facilities from paediatric oncology, surgery, anaesthetics radiology, pathology, psychology, teenage-young adult gynaecology, and an existing Human Tissue Authority tissue bank with a licence for storage of tissue under a Human Sector Licence. Phase 2 extended the service to include children and young adults across England, Wales and Ireland-patients from Scotland having access to a research programme in Edinburgh. The main challenge in phase 2 being resources and the need for patients to be able to be treated as close to home as safely as possible. RESULTS: The Oxford team developed information resources and eligibility criteria based on published best practice, referral and treatment pathways, multidisciplinary team meetings, a network of third party sites, and a dedicated case management and database. As the programme expanded, the Oxford team was able to justify to management the need for a dedicated theatre list. Patient feedback through questionnaires, qualitative work conducted as part of a Ph.D. thesis as well as direct patient stories and interviews in TV, and radio features underpins the positive impact the programme has on patients and their families. CONCLUSION: The Oxford Reproductive Cryopreservation programme delivers fertility preservation treatment to children and young adults at high risk of infertility safely, effectively and as close to home as possible. The onward view is to apply for national funding for this programme for recognition and sustainability.