Sperm Banking Emerges as Valuable Way To Preserve Fertility in Cancer Patients

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For young men undergoing treatment for cancer, sperm banking can be a powerful tool for preserving future fertility. But a new study found that sperm banking is an underutilized choice among male adolescents who have recently be diagnosed with cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that only half of the patients attempted to bank their sperm. So why the low numbers?

68 out of 146 male adolescents/teenagers decided to not bank their sperm. The reasons given differed from patient to patient, with some patients believing that it wasn’t necessary while others citing family opposition as their explanation. A few simply were not educated about what sperm banking is. They are not the only ones.

When it comes to educating young people, the focus tends to be on preventing unplanned pregnancies, rather than fertility preservation. However, it is significant information for both sexes: women who are younger than 39 who undergo cancer treatments are less likely to become pregnant later.  For women, egg freezing is a viable option to preserve future fertility.  For men, sperm banking is the one of the best options.

What exactly is sperm banking?

Sperm banking is a method of fertility preservation where the semen is collected and stored. It is important to remember that sperm banking is not a guarantee. In the study published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, only 44% of patients who attempted to bank their sperm were successful.

Certain factors influence how effective patients were in banking in their sperm.

  • A history of masturbation: Patients who had previously experimented with masturbation were more successful in their sperm banking attempt.
  • The support of a medical team member or patient: The study found that patients who had discussed their options with a fertility specialist or had the support of a parent were more likely to successfully collect their sperm.

One failed attempt to collect sperm should not cause despair. If you are unsuccessful in banking your sperm, there are other options available to you to preserve your fertility. Other strategies can be used to collect sperm non-manually.

When it comes to fertility preservation, knowledge is power. While medical professionals should discuss your options with you, it might be up to you to start the conversation. By staying informed about your options, you can figure out what method is best for you. The earlier you begin planning, the better.