Fertility Preservation: Should we Reconsider the Terminology?

Michaël Grynberg; Nathalie Sermondade


Hum Reprod. 2019;34(10):1855-1857. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The term 'fertility preservation' embraces techniques that are actually mostly based on gamete and gonadal tissue cryopreservation. While the efficiency of these techniques in terms of live births remains difficult to establish, it is remarkable that this ambiguous terminology is routinely used and seems currently well accepted. In order to limit false hopes about the real chances of truly preserving fertility, our medical community should discuss qualifying the term 'fertility preservation'. 'Gamete or gonadal tissue cryopreservation' could appear as a more unambiguous and realistic term. However, it probably captures only a segment of a more global 'fertility preservation' process. Discussing how and when to use which terminology, and even finding a more realistic and unifying term, should be further explored.


The past decade has been marked by an increasing number of publications about 'fertility preservation'. This terminology mainly refers to all the techniques proposed in order to avoid fertility impairment as a result of different physiologic or medical situations. In fact, the vast majority of these techniques currently rely on gamete (oocytes or spermatozoa) and gonadal tissue (ovarian or testicular tissue) cryopreservation. In the absence of a guarantee of effectiveness, the relevance of this terminology may be questioned.