Researchers believe they may have found a way to delay menopause and preserve fertility in women for months or even years, Medical Daily reported.

The procedure, which involves removing portions of the ovary, freezing them and then re-implanting them at a later time, has led to spontaneous, successful pregnancies in cancer survivors.

It was previously believed that ovaries could last six to nine months frozen in storage. However, a case in Italy far exceeded expectations, according to Medical Daily.  A patient of Turin-based gynecologist Dr. Gianluca Gennarelli was 21 years old when she began chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

Before treatment, the patient harvested ovarian cortical tissue through laparoscopy, which was then preserved through slow freezing and liquid nitrogen.

The patient suffered ovarian failure after treatment, as doctors expected, and seven years later in 2010, she requested implantation.  In March 2012, she gave birth to a healthy baby without the use of in vitro fertilization.

According to Medical Daily, there are believed to be 28 babies who were conceived in a similar way.

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