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Sperm Banking Before Cancer Treatment: What You Need to Know
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-altering event. While processing everything that needs to happen with regard to treatment options and next steps, it can be difficult to consider the impact that successful treatment can have on family-building goals. When you’re just trying to get through the upcoming weeks and months, planning too far ahead can be challenging.
We know, however, that the most common treatments to combat cancer are chemotherapy and radiation, both of which are linked to infertility in men and women. While preparations for treatment are being made, discussions about fertility preservation, also known as sperm banking, need to be had. If there is time to briefly delay treatment so sperm can be safely frozen and preserved, then it is worth talking to your doctor.
Medical fertility preservation differs for men and women. For male patients, the process is relatively straightforward and takes little time. There are even sperm banks, including Fertility Center of California, that provide at-home sperm kits, which allow men to provide sperm samples from the comfort and privacy of their own home that can then be shipped to a bank for analysis and storage. For women, the process is more involved, requiring preparation of the ovaries before an egg retrieval procedure.
Talking to your doctor about sperm freezing
Hopefully, your doctor will be the one to bring up the topic of fertility preservation. In the event that this topic does not arise after your diagnosis, then there are ways to introduce your concerns and discuss how to move forward with treatment while first preserving sperm.
Ensure that you are direct and clear with your family planning goals so your doctor is aware and ask them to consider noting this on your file so it is on record. Let he or she know that you’d like to freeze your sperm prior to starting treatment and whether you are ready to do so as soon as possible. Ask whether this will lead to a delay in treatment or not; if there is a delay, how long is expected and do they think it is not advisable. Also ask for a referral for an established, trusted sperm bank in your area
Confirm with the sperm bank that you are a cancer patient seeking medical fertility preservation at the earliest possible date.