How Does Cancer Treatment Impact Male Fertility?

Fertility preservation, also known as sperm freezing, is fortunately an increasingly prevalent part of the conversation recently diagnosed cancer patients have with their oncologist. In the past, what could happen to a man’s fertility after cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation was not on the radar. Patients were not informed prior to treatment that their fertility could be negatively affected or that there were options for preservation should any ill effects occur.

Cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, and your future fertility

Today, discussions about fertility are more likely to take place, especially as the general public is more aware of the impact that cancer treatment can have on family planning years after successful cancer treatment.

What types of cancer can impact male fertility?

  • Testicular
  • Prostate
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s

How does cancer treatment impact male fertility?

  • Testicles may be unable to produce sperm or produce sperm that is healthy
  • The ability to ejaculate normally may be adversely impacted
  • Hormones that assist with sperm production may be decreased

Are the negative effects of chemotherapy permanent?

The length of time in which male fertility is affected from cancer treatment can vary from person to person. For some, sperm quality and production can return to pre-treatment levels within about 1–4 years. Risk factors for cancer treatment having a negative impact on fertility include the type of drug that is being used, the dose of that drug, and the patient’s age. For example, men age 40 and older are more likely to experience fertility issues post-treatment.

The @Home Sperm Freezing Kit

The urge to begin cancer treatment immediately is 100 percent understandable. Patients are strongly encouraged to speak with their oncologist about whether they can briefly delay the start of treatment so they can seek fertility preservation services. For men, fertility preservation is quite straightforward and unlikely to require much of a delay in chemotherapy or radiation. However, it is ultimately up to the patient and his doctor as to whether a delay is appropriate.

The Fertility Center of California offers cancer patients an @Home Sperm Freezing Kit:

“The @Home Sperm Freezing Kit contains the materials and instructions necessary for patients to produce a usable sperm sample at home or in the hospital. The frozen sperm can remain potent for decades. The kit is designed to eliminate a dilemma facing some men: whether to postpone treatment while pursuing sperm preservation. With this revolutionary technology, a patient can preserve his child-bearing capabilities in a matter of hours.”

If you have additional questions about sperm freezing prior to cancer treatment, please contact our office today.