Sperm Freezing Offers Opportunities to Build Families Post-Cancer Diagnosis

Sometimes, when a patient is experiencing a fertility issue, it may be a symptom or side effect of a more serious health condition. In the case of a recent patient, the patient’s fertility concerns led Dr. Bastuba to detect the beginning stages of a severe problem, which permitted immediate treatment before the condition became life threatening.

The patient, J.M., originally visited our office after a year of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving with his wife. This is a very standard patient problem that we encounter daily. Upon a routine semen analysis, J.M. showed normal concentrations, but exhibited very low morphology forms. During J.M.’s physical exam, Dr. Bastuba was able to detect a hint of a mass in his left testis. It was then discovered that his left testicle was also significantly smaller than the right by almost 1/3 of the size. J.M.’s left testicle also presented with increased consistency, being much more firm than is typical. In order to further understand what was causing these problems for J.M., we suggested that he have a screening scrotal ultrasound. Upon the completion of the ultrasound, a solid testicular mass was found which was consistent with seminoma, a type of testicular cancer.

Dr. Bastuba’s experience in this field allowed J.M. to be properly informed on the best treatment options available. Due to the condition, J.M. had to have his left testicle (which contained the cancer) removed. Dr. Bastuba was able to perform this surgery without any complications. Although this diagnosis was difficult for the patient, it did not change his original desire of starting a family. Dr. Bastuba strongly encouraged him to have his sperm frozen prior to all of the procedures in order to make that dream a possibility.

J.M. followed this request, and was able to produced viable sperm, creating the potential ability to start a family by way of an in-vitro fertilization after his cancer clears. This is another example of why freezing sperm prior to cancer treatment is such an important and wonderful tool to utilize, as J.M. will likely still need to undergo radiation and/or chemotherapy after Dr. Bastuba’s procedure, which can severely damage men’s reproductive ability. With these frozen sperm samples available, when J.M. is healthy once again, he will still have the opportunity to fulfill his dreams of having a family.

The big “C” is heavily feared one for anyone who visits a doctor’s office. For this reason, it is very important to have regular check-ups with your physician - as we were able to see in the case of J.M., his fertility complications were an underlying sign to a much bigger problem. Fortunately, we were able to catch his cancer at an earlier stage in its development, allowing a greater opportunity to have successful treatment. Had he not seen Dr. Bastuba, this problem could have very well become a much more serious complication requiring much more intensive care. Even further, J.M.’s initial motivations for his visit of starting a family were even able to be salvaged, and hopefully met. Due to our in-facility sperm bank, we were able to quickly store specimens prior to his rather immediate procedure. Had he come in later, it would have drastically reduced his ability to freeze viable seamen.