Background: The possibility of cryopreservation of semen from adolescents has until now received only little attention. Therefore, we have investigated the possibility of cryopreservation of semen in adolescent boys with cancer.
Procedure: Forty-five boys, aged 13-18 years, admitted because of cancer during the period January 1, 1995 to July 31, 1998 were eligible. Semen was obtained after masturbation in the majority of the cases. In three boys, semen was preserved after penile vibration or electroejaculation in general anaesthesia. The semen samples were analysed for concentration, motility, and morphology according to the WHO guidelines. The sample was transferred into straws prior to cryopreservation at 196 degrees C in liquid nitrogen.
Results: Twenty-one boys delivered a semen sample for cryopreservation. Four boys were offered and accepted sperm banking but were not able to produce a sample. In 20 cases time did not allow an attempt of sperm banking, the boy was not assessed to be mature enough to deliver a semen sample, or the procedure was not accepted. The boys delivered 1-3 samples, and the total number of spermatozoa ranged from 0-210 millions. Median percentage of motile sperm was 50% (range 9-86%). Semen quality improved with age; however, a 13- year- old boy produced 75 million spermatozoa with 38% motile cells.
Conclusions: Pubertal maturation should be assessed in all boys admitted for cancer, and the possibility of sperm banking should be discussed with the patient and his parents.