Fatherhood after cancer treatment


Cancer treatment usually renders the survivor infertile. Men with Hodgkin lymphoma who want to become fathers after their treatment have better chances of doing so if they have frozen and stored semen samples prior to treatment.

Impact on fatherhood

A new study, the first to examine the impact on fatherhood of freezing semen prior to cancer treatment, has found that among their 334 patients who wanted to have children, the use of frozen semen doubled their chances compared to men who had not frozen their semen.

Cryopreservation has a large impact

“Our study shows that cryopreservation of semen before cancer treatment has a large impact: one in five children born after Hodgkin lymphoma treatment was born using cryopreserved semen. Among survivors wishing to become a father after treatment, availability of cryopreserved semen doubled the odds of successful fatherhood,” said Dr. Marleen van der Kaaij, MD, University Medical Centre in Groningen, The Netherlands.

Doctors should always offer this simple and important option

Not all doctors are quick to talk about the option when in the midst of a cancer crisis. This important aspect of preserving options after treatment needs to be discussed. “Cryopreservation should always be offered to all male patients about to undergo cancer treatment – even in situations where treatment should start urgently or where first-line treatment is not very toxic to fertility. Clinicians should realize the enormous impact of this cheap and simple procedure,” explained Dr. van der Kaaij.

More information needed for inexpensive and easy treatment

“Twenty-three percent of men unable to conceive spontaneously did not have cryopreserved semen available and could not become fathers. Whereas, among men who did use cryopreserved semen we found a success rate of 62% and several men were still in the process of fertility treatment at the time of the survey. This underlines the importance of making available information and access to cryopreservation facilities for cancer patients,” concluded Dr. van der Kaaij.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Human Reproduction


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