Monitoring fertility (semen analysis) by cancer survivors who banked sperm prior to cancer treatment

Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, Department of Human Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Level 4, The Jessop Wing, Tree Root Walk, Sheffield S10 2SF, UK.
Human Reproduction (Impact Factor: 4.57). 08/2012; 27(11):3132-9. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/des300
Source: PubMed


STUDY QUESTION: What medical and psychological variables predict why men with banked sperm do not return for semen analysis after their cancer treatment has ended? SUMMARY ANSWER: Men who decline the offer of semen analysis are less likely to have reported adverse side effects during cancer treatment, and have a more negative experience of banking sperm and a more negative attitude towards disposal of their stored semen than those who attend. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Previous authors have noted that male cancer survivors seem reluctant to have their fertility tested after their treatment has ended. Moreover, the utilization rates of banked sperm are very low (<10%) and the majority of samples are kept for many years without being used. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE AND DURATION: A cross-sectional study of 499 cancer survivors who were sent a questionnaire about their views on sperm banking, fertility and post-treatment semen analysis between April 2008 and December 2010. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Men (aged 18-55 years) who had banked sperm in Sheffield and Nottingham (UK) prior to gonadotoxic treatment for cancer more than 5 years previously. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Completed questionnaires were received from 193 men (38.7% response rate) whose samples had been banked for 9.18 ± 3.70 years (range = 4.94-26.21) and whose current age was 35.08 ± 7.08 years (range = 21.58-54.34; mean ± SD). One-third (35.8%) had never attended for semen analysis. In multivariate analysis, the odds of not attending for semen analysis were significantly greater among men who did not experience adverse treatment side effects [odds ratio (OR) = 5.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.10-15.56], who reported a more negative experience of banking sperm (OR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.17-2.82) and a more negative attitude to disposal of their stored semen (OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.01-2.42). LIMITATIONS AND REASONS FOR CAUTION: Only 38.7% of those eligible agreed to take part. We do not know the characteristics of men who declined to take part, if they agreed to attend semen analysis without completing the questionnaire or whether they had chosen to have semen analysis performed elsewhere (e.g. private sector). Some of the measures used (e.g. experience of banking sperm) relied on men's recall of events many years previously. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: New strategies are required to encourage these men to engage with fertility monitoring programmes if sperm banks are to be used cost-effectively and men are to be given appropriate fertility advice. STUDY FUNDING AND COMPETING INTERESTS: This paper was supported by funding from Cancer Research-UK to C.E., A.A.P. and R.R. (C481/A8141). The views expressed are those of the authors. No competing interests declared.

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    • "Views about fertility included six questions about men's understanding about changes in their fertility after cancer treatment (Pacey et al, 2012). Responses were made on five-point Likert scales from 'strongly agree' to 'strongly disagree'. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Sperm banking is recommended for all men diagnosed with cancer where treatment is associated with risk of long-term gonadatoxicity, to offer the opportunity of fatherhood and improved quality of life. However, uptake of sperm banking is lower than expected and little is known about why men refuse. Our aims were to determine: (i) demographic and medical variables associated with decisions about banking and (ii) differences in quality of life between bankers and non-bankers at diagnosis (Time 1 (T1)) and 1 year later (Time 2 (T2)). Methods: Questionnaires were completed by 91 men (response rate=86.67%) at T1 and 78 (85.71% response rate) at T2. Results: In all, 44 (56.41%) banked sperm. They were younger and less likely to have children than non-bankers. In a subset of men who were not sure if they wanted children in the future (n=36), 24 banked sperm. Among this group, those who banked were younger, more satisfied with clinic appointments and less worried about the health of future children. At T2, there were no differences in quality of life between bankers and non-bankers. Conclusion: For those who are uncertain about future reproductive plans, decisions depend on their health on diagnosis and satisfaction with clinic care. We conclude that extra care should be taken in counselling younger men who may have given little consideration to future parenting. Results support previous findings that the role of the doctor is vital in facilitating decisions, especially for those who are undecided about whether they wanted children in the future or not.
    British Journal of Cancer 03/2013; 108(5). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.57 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: In this study we report our results with storage of cryopreserved semen intended for preservation and subsequent infertility treatment in men with testicular cancer during the last 18 years. Methods: Cryopreserved semen of 523 men with testicular cancer was collected between October 1995 and the end of December 2012. Semen of 34 men (6.5%) was used for fertilization of their partners. They underwent 57 treatment cycles with cryopreserved, fresh, and/or donor sperm. Results: A total of 557 men have decided to freeze their semen before cancer treatment. Azoospermia was diagnosed in 34 men (6.1%), and semen was cryopreserved in 532 patients. Seminoma was diagnosed in 283 men (54.1%) and nonseminomatous germ cell tumors in 240 men (45.9%). 34 patients who returned for infertility treatment underwent 46 treatment cycles with cryopreserved sperm. Totally 16 pregnancies were achieved, that is, 34.8% pregnancy rate. Conclusion: The testicular cancer survivors have a good chance of fathering a child by using sperm cryopreserved prior to the oncology treatment, even when it contains only limited number of spermatozoa.
    The Scientific World Journal 01/2014; 2014:575978. DOI:10.1155/2014/575978 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The potential risks of anti-cancer therapy for male and female fertility are well understood, yet evidence suggests that fewer patients than predicted actually preserve their fertility before therapy begins. Studies of post-pubertal males and females suggest that the approach of health professionals in oncology is vital in facilitating successful sperm and egg banking. For men, this seems to be compounded by a general lack of understanding about their personal risk of infertility. Those involved in delivering anticancer therapy therefore have a vital role to play in providing timely information and facilitating efficient referral to fertility services. In the future, this is likely to become more important if new fertility preservation strategies such as ovarian and testicular tissue banking become more routinely used, with implications for both pre- and post-pubertal individuals.
    Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy 02/2014; 14(5). DOI:10.1586/14737140.2014.883283 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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