Pediatric Fertility Program   

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Launches Cryopreservation, New Jersey’s Only Fertility Preservation Program

Program offers hope to young patients who undergo cancer treatment that may affect fertility

Pediatric Fertility Program

Having cancer or receiving cancer treatment during childhood or adolescence may affect a child’s fertility later in life. Physicians at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital are working to enhance long-term quality of life for pediatric cancer survivors through a new fertility preservation program that features the state’s only cryopreservation of ovarian and testicular tissue.

The Fertility Preservation Program team includes a pediatric oncologist, a pediatric surgeon, an advanced practice nurse and a dedicated nurse navigator.

The program for processing cryopreserved tissues for long-term storage is provided in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Joseph M. Sanzari is the only site offering a clinical trial for testicular cryopreservation in New Jersey. To date, procedures have been performed on Joseph M. Sanzari patients as well as patients from the other Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health facility — K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Hospital.

The program’s first successful ovarian tissue cryopreservation procedure was performed by pediatric surgeon Keith Kuenzler, M.D., on a 3-year-old child with high-risk neuroblastoma. Before the six-hour surgery to remove her primary tumor, Dr. Kuenzler removed her left ovary, and the fertility program team safely packed and transported it to the University of Pittsburgh, where it was processed and frozen for long-term storage. More recent procedures include the preservation of tissue of a young boy who was scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant to cure his sickle cell anemia.

“With advancements in technology and treatment, most children and young adults with cancer and serious blood disorders become long-term survivors,” said Burton Appel, M.D., director of the Fertility Preservation Program. “At Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, our team is committed to exploring new fertility preservation techniques for our young patients, so they can grow up and have the option to create families of their own.”

The program’s services include:

  • Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OTC) for pre-pubertal females and post-pubertal females who are not candidates for ovarian stimulation and egg freezing
  • Testicular tissue cryopreservation (TTC) for pre-pubertal males. TTC is considered experimental at this time and is offered to families as part of a multi-center clinical trial.
  • Ovarian stimulation and egg freezing for post-pubertal females, with referral to reproductive endocrinology specialists
  • Sperm banking for post-pubertal males

Learn more about pediatric oncology advancements at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.

U.S. News & World Report 2023-2024 Cancer Best Hospitals
We use cookies to improve your experience. Please read our Privacy Policy or click Accept.