Testicular cancer has a 99% survival rate for men who are diagnosed at its early stage. This cancer is approximately more common in men from the ages of 15-45 years of age. Surviving testicular cancer could, however, mean inability to have children. Fertility is an important part of life for most men and therefore, when diagnosed with testicular cancer, it is crucial to talk to your doctor or specialist on the chances of the treatment affecting your fertility.
Fertility Preservation in Men with Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer affects the testicles (testes) which are major reproductive organs in men, where the sperm and testosterone are produced. Some testicular cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy or even surgery if it involves removal of both testicles, in cases where the cancer has spread to both testicles, can affect a man’s fertility. Fertility preservation in men refers to the process of protecting sperm or reproductive tissue so that a man can still be able to father biological children and, in this case, after testicular cancer treatment.
How can Fertility be Preserved?
The options for fertility preservation in men include:
- Sperm Banking: This is whereby a man’s sperms are collected, analysed, frozen and stored for future use such that even if the testicular cancer treatment affects him, the stored sperms can be used to enable him to have biological children.
- Radiation shielding: Unlike other fertility preservations that are done before treatment of testicular cancer, this option is done during the actual treatment. One or both testicles are covered with special shields reducing the risk of fertility being damaged by the radiation beams.
- Testicular Sperm Extraction: A small portion of testicular tissue is removed while the patient is under local anaesthesia. Few viable sperms are then extracted from the tissue and used for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. It is commonly done for men who have reached puberty but have no mature sperm in their semen.
- Testicular Tissue Freezing (Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation): This procedure is still being experimented on and therefore, is not available worldwide. It is mostly meant for boys who have not gone through puberty. It involves surgically removing testicular tissue, including cells that produce sperm. The tissue is then analysed, frozen and stored for future use when the individual wants to have children.
Other options for men who have gone through testicular cancer treatment:
For men who have already gone through testicular cancer treatment and had their fertility affected, there are other options they can consider to achieve their dream of becoming parents. These include:
- Sperm donation: Having a sperm donor who is either chosen by a couple or provided by the fertility centre, depending on a couple’s preference.
- Adoption: For a couple that does not want to go through the entire IVF process, adopting a child is an option to consider.
Having one’s own child is more fulfilling for most people and therefore, it is advisable for a man to talk to their doctor or specialist about their risk of infertility after testicular cancer treatment and how that can be avoided or how their fertility can be preserved.
International Medical Treatment Ltd (IMT) partners with some of the leading hospitals overseas which use the most advanced equipment in the treatment of testicular cancer that reduce the risk of affecting a man’s fertility. These hospitals also have some of the most comprehensive fertility centres that provide couples with the best options in helping then have their own children.
Contact IMT today to find out more about our partner hospitals and which testicular cancer treatment options, and fertility preservation options are available.