Background: Sperm cryopreservation before cancer chemotherapy is available for young patients with cancer. However, few patients bank their sperm. The authors evaluated by questionnaire the psychological impact of sperm cryopreservation.
Methods: The authors cryopreserved the sperm of 111 patients with cancer for free at the Yokohama City University (Yokohama, Japan). For the current study, questionnaires were mailed to 66 patients whose sperm had been cryopreserved. Fifty-one patients (77.3%) with testicular carcinomas (n = 24), leukemia or malignant lymphoma (n = 19), or other cancers (n = 8) answered the questionnaire. The average age at collection and the period of sperm cryopreservation were 30.1 +/- 6.0 (mean +/- standard deviation) and 3.3 +/- 2.2 years, respectively.
Results: Many patients were informed of the deleterious effects of cancer chemotherapy and worried about infertility in the future. However, only half of the patients banked their sperm on their own initiative. Other patients followed their physician's instruction. Eighty percent of patients replied that sperm cryopreservation helped in the battle against cancer. Sperm banking especially was found to encourage every patient who banked sperm on their own initiative. After cancer chemotherapy, 70% of patients wanted to have a child. However, 60% of patients were worried about infertility in spite of having their sperm cryopreserved. No patients wanted to use cryopreserved sperm for fathering children if their spermatogenesis was restored. Sperm cryopreservation invigorated many patients with cancer after cancer treatments. The majority of patients recommended sperm cryopreservation to other cancer patients.
Conclusions: Sperm cryopreservation encouraged young patients with cancer during and after cancer treatment. It should be recommended for all young patients with cancer. However, sperm cryopreservation did not eliminate their fear of infertility.
(c) 2005 American Cancer Society.